Source Code is a 2011 U.S. science fiction action thriller film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Ben Ripley. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal 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, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright 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.
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 Assisted suicide 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 dirty bomb 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 original spec script 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 Millennium Park and making their way to the Cloud Gate. 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.
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.
Critics have compared Source Code with both the 1993 film Groundhog Day and British film director Tony Scott'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".
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "Confounding, exhilarating, challenging – and the best movie I've seen so far in 2011." Roger Ebert 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". Kenneth Turan 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". CNN 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".
|Best Science Fiction Actor
|Ben Ripley and Duncan Jones
|Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
|Visual Effects Society Awards
|Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
|Annie Godin, Louis Morin