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Source Code is a 2011 U.S. science fiction action thriller film directed by and written by . It stars as U.S. Army Captain Colter Stevens, who is sent into an eight-minute digital re-creation of a real-life train explosion, tasked with determining the identity of the terrorist who bombed it. Michelle Monaghan, , and play supporting roles.

It had its world premiere on March 11, 2011, at South by Southwest and was released by Summit Entertainment on April 1, 2011, in North America and Europe. It received critical acclaim and was a box office success, grossing over $147.3 million on a $31.9 million budget.

U.S. Army pilot Captain Colter Stevens wakes up on a going into . He is disoriented, as his last memory was of flying a mission in . However, to the world around him – including his friend Christina Warren and his reflection in the train's windows and mirrors – he appears to be a different man: a school teacher named Sean Fentress. As he expresses his confusion to Christina, the train explodes while passing by another train, killing everyone aboard.

Stevens abruptly awakens in a dimly lit cockpit. Communicating through a video screen, Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin verifies Stevens' identity and tells him of his mission to find the train bomber before sending him back to the moment he awoke on the train. Believing he is being tested in a simulation, Stevens finds the bomb in a vent inside the lavatory but is unable to identify the bomber. Still thinking he is in a simulation, Stevens leaves the bomb and goes back down to the main cabin before the train explodes again.

Stevens again reawakens in his capsule and after demanding to be briefed, learns that the train explosion actually happened and that it was merely the first attack of a suspected series. He is sent back yet again, eight minutes before the explosion, to identify the bomber. This time, he disembarks the train (with Christina) to follow a suspect. This turns out to be a dead end, the train still explodes in the distance, and Stevens is killed by a passing train after falling onto the tracks while interrogating the suspect.

The capsule power supply malfunctions as Stevens reawakens. He claims to have saved Christina, but Dr. Rutledge tells him that she was saved only inside the "Source Code". Rutledge explains that the Source Code is an experimental machine that reconstructs the past using the dead passengers' residual collective memories of eight minutes before their deaths. Therefore, the only thing that matters is finding the bomber to prevent the upcoming second attack in Chicago.

On his next run-in, Stevens learns that he was reported as killed in action two months earlier. He confronts Goodwin, who reveals that he is missing most of his body, is on life support, and is hooked up to neural sensors. The capsule and his healthy body are "manifestations" made by his mind to make sense of the environment. Stevens is angry at this forced imprisonment. Rutledge offers to him after the mission, and Stevens eventually accepts.

After numerous attempts, including being arrested by train security for trying to obtain a weapon, Stevens identifies the bomber through a fallen wallet as nihilistic domestic terrorist Derek Frost. He memorizes Frost's license and vehicle registration plates, and discovers a built inside a van owned by Frost; Christina follows him, and Frost shoots both of them dead.

Outside Source Code, Stevens relays his knowledge to Goodwin, which helps the police arrest Frost and prevents the second attack. He is congratulated for completing his mission. Rutledge secretly reneges on his deal to let Stevens die, as he is still the only candidate able to enter Source Code.

Being more sympathetic to his plight, Goodwin sends Stevens back one last time and promises to disconnect his life support after eight minutes. This time, he sets a date with Christina, defuses the bomb, apprehends Frost, and reports him to the police. He calls his father under the guise of a fellow soldier and reconciles with him, and sends Goodwin an email. After eight minutes, Goodwin terminates Stevens's life support.

As the world around him continues to progress beyond eight minutes, Stevens confirms his suspicion that Source Code is not merely a simulation, but rather a machine that allows him to create alternate timelines. He and Christina leave the train and go on a date. In the same (alternate) reality, Goodwin receives Stevens' message. He tells her of Source Code's true capability and asks her to help the alternate-reality version of him.



, the boy depicted in the 2003 made-for-television documentary The Nuclear Boy Scout, was the inspiration for the antagonist Derek Frost. In an article published by the Writers Guild of America, screenwriter is described as providing the original pitch to the studios responsible for producing Source Code:

The original was originally sold to Universal Pictures in 2007 but was ranked on The Black List of top unproduced screenplays.

After seeing Moon, Gyllenhaal lobbied for Jones to direct Source Code; Jones liked the fast-paced script; as he later said: "There were all sorts of challenges, and puzzles, and I kind of like solving puzzles, so it was kind of fun for me to work out how to achieve all these difficult things that were set up in the script."

In the ending scene, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan's characters are seen walking through and making their way to the . In a 2011 interview, Gyllenhaal discussed how director Duncan Jones felt that the structure was a metaphor for the movie's subject matter and aimed for it to feature at the beginning and end of the movie.

Principal photography began on March 1, 2010, in , , and ended on April 29, 2010. Several scenes were shot in Chicago, Illinois, specifically at and the Main Building at the Illinois Institute of Technology, although the sign showing the name of the latter, in the intersection of 31st Street and S LaSalle Street, was edited out.

Initially, some filming was scheduled at the Ottawa Train Station in Ottawa, Ontario, but was canceled for lack of an agreement with VIA Rail.

Editing took place in Los Angeles. In July 2010, the film was in the stage of postproduction. Most of the VFX work was handled by Montreal studios, including Moving Picture Company, , Oblique FX, and Fly Studio. Jones had confirmed that the film's soundtrack would be composed by , in his second collaboration with the composer. Mansell was announced as no longer scoring the soundtrack due to time constraints.


The film received its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 11, 2011. Summit Entertainment released the film to theaters in the United States and Canada on April 1, 2011. In France, the film was released on April 20, 2011.

Home media
Source Code was released on and simultaneously in the United States on July 26, 2011, with the United Kingdom release on DVD and Blu-ray (as well as a combined DVD/Blu-ray package) on August 15, 2011. In the UK, there was also a Blu-ray/DVD "Double Play" release featuring a lenticular slipcover.


Box office
Source Code grossed $54.7 million in the United States and Canada and $92.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $147.3 million, against a production budget of $32 million.

The film was released in theaters on April 1, 2011. In the United States and Canada, Source Code was released theatrically in 2,961 conventional theaters. The film made $14.8 million and debuted second on its opening weekend.

Despite its grosses, according to director Duncan Jones, the studio claims that the film has never turned a profit, which is attributed to Hollywood accounting.

Critical response
Review aggregator website reports a 92% approval rating, based on an aggregation of 261 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's consensus reads: "Finding the human story amidst the action, director Duncan Jones and charming Jake Gyllenhaal craft a smart, satisfying sci-fi thriller." awarded the film an average score of 74/100, based on 41 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.

Critics have compared Source Code with both the 1993 film Groundhog Day and British film director 's 2006 time-altering science fiction film Déjà Vu: in the latter case, the similarity of plotline in the protagonist's determination to change the past was highlighted, and his emotional commitment to save the victim, rather than simply try to discover the identity of the perpetrator of the crime. Alternatively, it has been described as a "cross between Groundhog Day and Murder on the Orient Express", while The Arizona Republic film critic Bill Goodykoontz says that comparing Source Code to Groundhog Day is doing a disservice to Source Code enthralling "mind game".

of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "Confounding, exhilarating, challenging – and the best movie I've seen so far in 2011." gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, calling it "an ingenious thriller" where "you forgive the preposterous because it takes you to the perplexing". of the Los Angeles Times called Ben Ripley's script "cleverly constructed" and a film "crisply directed by Duncan Jones". He also praised the "cast with the determination and ability to really sell its story". called Ripley's script "ingenious" and the film "as authoritative an exercise in fractured storytelling as Christopher Nolan's Memento". He also commented that Gyllenhaal is "more compelling here than he's been in a long time".

2011Scream AwardsBest Science Fiction Actor
Bradbury Award and
2012Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Visual Effects Society AwardsOutstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion PictureAnnie Godin, Louis Morin

See also
  • List of films featuring time loops

External links

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