Friday, May 06, 2011
Source Code is...
... 20% Jake Gyllenhaal. 2010 was the year when Jake finally got thrust into the carrying a mainstream movie ballpark, with the highest-grossing video-game adaptation EVER in Prince of Persia, and the quite-frankly execrable "romantic" "comedy" "drama" Love and Other Drugs. But Source Code feels like the first time he's really holding a feature by himself, being responsible for the entire mood of the thing, convincing us of its scientific and romantic leanings - basically, he's the one selling the thing. And he does a rather good job. It helps to be so swoon-fully good-looking, of course, but we already knew, too, that he has charisma in abundance, and most crucially he sells the difficult mental journey Colter Stevens is forced to take, constantly thrust back into the same section of time over and over again while simultaneously learning, or remembering, his own reality. The "bullshit" takes over in the end, but it's Jake's sympathetic smarts you'll remember.
... 13% The War. Bombings ---> terrorism ---> wars of the Bush regime. It's a simple, inevitable chain, and though the actual bomber doesn't fit into this pattern, he might as well do. Point is, Colter is haunted by his war experiences, and as such, reacts to the idea of a bomb, the suspects on the train, and the actual bomber, in the mindset of a soldier. Again, before it becomes all heavy-handed, this approach is quite cleverly used, a sharply realistic view of how both soldier and public function in this post-9/11 society, yet still in the guise of a pulpy thriller. After, it feels like you've been smacked in the face with a wet chain of bullets.
... 10% North by Northwest. Those credits, gliding diagrammatically over Chicago's streets, remind of the angular credits of Hitchcock's famous thriller. The music, by Chris Bacon, is very menacing bombast, with the low, growling horns and panicked flourishes of strings, and percussion generally going a bit bananas. And quite a bit of both takes place on a train. I mean, it's basically the same film.
... 5% completely obvious clues that probably don't even matter. You might not have seen Source Code yet, so I won't spoil it... but I figured out who the bomber was from the moment (s)he did that possibly-inconsequential-but-really-quite-important-if-the-identity-of-the-bomber-is-even-important-which-I'm-not-sure-it-is thing that (s)he does.
But like I said, I doubt it matters.
... 2% slow-motion explosions. I mean, what is this? A Zach Snyder film?