There’s a bomb on a commuter train heading for Chicago. We know this because, in Source Code, we see it explode. And then we see it explode again. And again. And again. And each time, an army pilot Colter Stevens (doe-eyed Jake Gyllenhaal) who’s working for a secretive new military time-travel program, is sent back in eight minute chunks, to try and find the bomber and change the course of the future….
So it’s a doomsday-ish sci-fi thriller – think Twelve Monkeys meets Murder on the Orient Express – and Jake is really rather good in it. He is of course acted off the damn screen by the inestimable Vera Farmiga, who plays his cool but conflicted operator. We mostly see her seated, looking directly into camera, and the emotions flickering across her face are remarkably subtle and nuanced. Jeffrey Wright too is excellent as the slimy inventor of the Source Code. Michelle Monaghan as the sappy saccharine-sweet love interest, I frankly just don’t get. Anyway, Ms. Monahan aside, it’s worth taking out on dvd.
As for locations, well there’s only so much you can do with a railway carriage and the inside of a military lab. Without giving away too much of the plot, there is one image in Jake’s flashbacks that stand out: of the Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millenium Park. Cloud Gate – known to locals as “The Bean”, for obvious but somewhat unimaginative reasons – is a public sculpture by British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor that looks like a giant shiny mirrored drop of liquid mercury. There’s a bit of an a-ha moment about this when the whole thing wraps.