You are a U.S. Air Force helicopter pilot, stationed in Afghanistan. You awaken after a mission to find yourself on a commuter train heading into Chicago. The identification in your wallet says you’re a person you’ve never heard of. The other passengers around you, including the lovely young woman sitting across from you, seem to know you, though you don’t recognize them. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know something is about to happen, something you must prevent. Can you figure out what’s going on in time?
This is just the beginning of the tense, thought-provoking science-fiction thriller “Source Code.” Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain”) stars as Colter Stevens, a decorated pilot who becomes a “volunteer” in an unusual experiment. Using breakthrough technology, a government scientist (Jeffrey Wright) can “trace” a time code back to the crucial minutes before a violent incident. He is able to place Stevens, under an assumed identity, on the train and use his training to try and uncover clues to the identity of the attacker. But there’s more to the story than whether or not Stevens can save the day and his fellow passengers.
Director Duncan Jones (“Moon”) and writer Ben Ripley have crafted a tightly paced adventure tale that skillfully explores the territory of the heart while stretching the imagination as well. Mr. Ripley’s script engages audiences with just enough theoretical detail to make its science-fiction elements feel credible.
Mr. Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast, which includes Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”), do an excellent job of highlighting the emotional underpinnings of the story, as Stevens discovers more about the experiment’s darker side.
Extras in the DVD format include commentary tracks from Mr. Gyllenhaal, Mr. Jones (son of David Bowie) and Mr. Ripley, along with featurettes on time-travel science. Blu-ray extras include scientist commentaries on specific scenes and trivia about the making of the film.
A clever and surprisingly moving adventure, “Source Code” is a first-class thrill ride that offers more than meets the eye. MPAA Rating: PG-13, for profanity and violence.
Winter in Wartime
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
In a bleak and snowy village in Nazi-occupied Holland, World War II is slowly grinding to an end. Fourteen-year-old Michael has watched some friends and neighbors collaborate with the Germans while hearing whispers of the bravery of the Resistance.