First time director Duncan Jones (son of the legendary David Bowie) came out of nowhere last year with his low-key sci-fi drama Moon. It dispensed with modern science fiction sensibilities (like huge explosions and tons of quick-cut editing to ramp up the action) and instead focused on how loneliness and isolation can effect the human psyche – in the film’s case, the drastic situation of being the lone man on the moon.
Moon was a very well-received film both with fans and critics, so needless to say, Jones’ follow-up feature is quite highly anticipated. For that sophmore effort, the director has selected Source Code, a time-travel film starring Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role.
We’ve known the general plot of Source Code for awhile – i.e., a soldier gets sent back in time and inhabits the body of a commuter, perpetually reliving a terrorist attack on a train in order to find out who was responsible. However, thanks to Collider we now have a full synopsis for the film, as well as a new image featuring Gyllenhaal all geared up in what is presumably some sort of soldier’s uniform.
Take a look at the full synopsis and new image below. Warning: The synopsis goes into a fair bit of detail so you may want to skip it if you want to stay in the dark as much as possible:
Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes with a jolt to find himself on a commuter train heading into Chicago. Although the other passengers all seem to know him, he has absolutely no idea where—or even who—he is. The last thing Colter remembers is flying a helicopter mission in Iraq, but here he is in someone else’s life going through someone else’s morning commute. Before he can do anything an express train zooms by on the opposite track and a bomb explodes, seemingly killing Colter and all the other passengers.
Colter comes to in an isolation chamber, strapped to a seat, and wearing his military flight suit. He still has no idea what’s happening, except that he’s being spoken to by mission controller Carol Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who calmly recites a series of memory questions to which Colter is shocked to realize he knows the answers. He learns he’s part of an operation called “Beleaguered Castle,” but before he can progress any further, Goodwin starts up the machinery and suddenly… Colter is back on the train, at exactly the same time he first appeared there, once again speeding through Chicago with the same group of commuters. Colter figures he’s in some kind of simulation exercise, with his task being to find the bomber onboard the train before it goes off again.
Living the explosion over and over, Colter must uncover the identity of the bomber, while also figuring out what the alternative universe of “Beleaguered Castle” is. Adding to the puzzle, Colter uses the second chance opportunities to make peace with his father, and to find romance with a fellow passenger on the train.
Source Code certainly sounds like it kicks the action/thriller factors up a couple notches from Jones’ Moon. I’m interested to see how he handles a film that seems a lot more complicated with its structure and perhaps relies less on the performances of the leads to carry the story.
However, that’s not to say there aren’t some very talented actors in the cast to handle any challenging scenes that may come along. Gyllenhaal is a solid leading man who has proven he can play all manner of roles, such as the off-beat “outcast” (Donnie Darko), the romantic lead (Brokeback Mountain), the tough guy (Jarhead) and the action hero (Prince Persia), to name but a few. By the sounds of the above synopsis, he’ll be combining most of those traits for this role.
Providing support for Gyllenhaal in Source Code are Vera Farmiga (Up In the Air), Michelle Monaghan (Due Date) and Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale). Both Farmiga and Monaghan are actresses who have carved out solid careers for themselves, which are continuing to get better and better with just about every role they take. Wright is a brilliant character actor that I enjoy seeing pop up here, there and everywhere in movies.
Hopefully Jones can do with Source Code what he did with Moon – i.e. take classic sci-fi sensibilities and approach them from a fresh direction. Time travel stories have been attempted more times than you could probably count in science fiction – with varying results. I trust that Jones will produce one of the more successful examples.
Source Code is set to hit theaters on April 15th, 2011.