In his last film, Moon, director Duncan Jones portrayed an isolated man trapped by unfeeling technology and uncaring bureaucracy.
In Source Code, released this week, Jones returns to those themes with some success, but ultimately delivers a less memorable product.
Source Code has Jake Gyllenhaal portraying Afghanistan war veteran Colter Stevens, who, through some technological wizardry, finds himself forced to relive the last eight minutes before the bombing of a train.
By sending Stevens through this rat's maze, his somewhat shady boss (Jeffrey Wright) and his earnest assistant (Vera Farmiga) hope to prevent a larger disaster, set to take place later that day.
Along the way, the movie does manage to pose some interesting questions about identity, reality and morality. It stops just short, though, of a thorough examination of those complex subjects.
We — and Stevens — are thrown into the movie in medias res, which helps the audience identify with his confusion. Jones does an excellent job in showing Stevens' growing sense of tension and isolation as he undergoes failed effort after failed effort to find the bomber.
Though the plot and atmosphere is done quite well, the film's characters are somewhat lacking. Gyllenhaal does a good job with the material, but it often feels like he's surrounding by cardboard cutouts. Many of the other people that populate this movie feel shallow — it's a bit too transparent that some are there merely to further the plot.
In the end, Source Code is a good, well-crafted thriller, but isn't as memorable as other films that test our reality, like the aforementioned Moon or Inception.
Source Code is rated PG-13 and is currently playing at -- 24 Patriot Place, Foxboro, MA - (800) 315-4000