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Screen » Film

Time Travel Done Right: Gyllenhaal and company somehow make Source Code work

Yes, there's a certain validity to the pitch-meeting shorthand that would describe this science-fiction thriller as Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap - but that doesn't detract from what it manages to do right.

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Yes, there's a certain validity to the pitch-meeting shorthand that would describe this science-fiction thriller as "Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap" - but that doesn't detract from what it manages to do right.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Capt. Colter Stevens, a military pilot who awakens disoriented in the middle of a strange experiment: He has been transported into the body of a train passenger eight minutes before the train is blown up in a terrorist attack. And no matter how many times, he has to keep going back to those same eight minutes, because failing to find out who is behind the bombing is not an option.

Screenwriter Ben Ripley effectively builds the relationships between Stevens and both his military boss (Vera Farmiga) and the fellow train passenger he falls for (Michelle Monaghan), while director Duncan Jones (Moon) generates conventional action-film tension within a recurring-plot framework. It's actually surprisingly sharp and satisfying until it starts tripping over its metaphysics. Familiar time-travel stumbling blocks wind up making it a bit less profound than it seems to strive for, even though it's more ambitious than its high concept might suggest.

Source Code

★★★✩✩

Starring Jake Gylenhaal, Michelle Monaghan

Directed by Duncan Jones

Rated PG-13

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