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Douglas Pratt

By Douglas Pratt Pratt@moviecitynews.com

DVD Geek: Source Code

An inspired variation of the Groundhog’s Day gimmick, Source Code, from Summit Entertainment, is about an Air Force pilot placed in the body of a teacher on a commuter train and charged with finding out who planted the bomb on the train before it explodes, and replaying the same ride again and again until he solves the puzzle.  There is a romantic component to the story, naturally, and more than one life affirming, love affirming conclusion, leaving a viewer feeling both happy and satisfied, several times, after a stimulating and exciting ride.  Jake Gyllenhaal stars, with Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright.  In that the film also evokes aspects of Quantum Leap, there is a cleverly chosen cameo appearance by Scott Bakula.

The picture is presented in letterboxed format only, with an aspect ratio of about 1.78:1 and an accommodation for enhanced 16:9 playback.  The opening montage of Chicago on a bright, sunny day, before the plot even gets started, is so beautifully executed it is well worth playing over several times itself.  The 5.1-channel Dolby Digital sound has some reasonably good separation effects and a decent amount of power.  There is an alternate Spanish audio track in 5.1 Dolby, optional English and Spanish subtitles, a generalized and sporadic trivia subtitle track, 35 minutes of passable interview featurettes with the cast and crew that effectively build in detail as they advance, and a decent 7-minute overview of the scientific and technological concepts being tweaked within the story.

There is also a fairly good commentary track featuring Gyllenhaal, director Duncan Jones and screenwriter Ben Ripley.  They do talk a lot about the story, but in an informative manner, discussing everything from its ‘train of thought’ development to its metaphysics.  They also speak about the performances, Jones’ challenge to make the repeated sequences not feel redundant, and the excellent production designs (Gyllenhaal:  “I love searching through things, I just have to say.  There is something as an actor.”  Jones:  “There were a lot of metal edges on this set.”  Gyllenhaal:  “That’s true.”  Jones:  “I think you cut your hands up so many…”  Gyllenhaal:  “That is so true.  Duncan agreed to do the movie and it was 4 months later that we were making the movie and so the train, occasionally, due to the speed at which we made the movie, and really how the movie moves, too, it sort of mimics itself.”  Jones:  “Jake’s hands looked like sliced bacon by the end of the shoot.”  Gyllenhaal:  “I do grab onto a lot of really sharp edges that don’t look sharp but are.  I had bloody hands.”  Jones:  “We had a very busy nurse on set.”  Gyllenhaal:  “And different hand inserts, because Duncan didn’t like the bloody hands.”).

One Response to “DVD Geek: Source Code”

  1. abuckley says:

    I didn’t mind the movie, I thought it had some good plot elements. If they’d thrown in a groundhog I would have been completely sold :)

    We recently started a weekly geek entertainment news, movie and comic book reviews podcast…Trilogy! http://www.planetkibi.com/trilogy-everything-comes-in-threes.html Please feel free to have a listen… :)

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DEADLINE: How does a visualist feel about people watching your films on a phone or VOD?
REFN: It depends on what kind of movie you make. We had great success with Only God Forgives on multiple platforms in the U.S. Young people will decide how they see it, when they want to see it. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. That’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re at the most exciting time since the invention of the wheel, in terms of creativity because distribution and accessibility have changed everything. A camera is still a camera whether it’s digital or not; there’s still sound; an actor is an actor. Ninety-nine percent of what you do is going to be seen on a smart phone – I know this is the greatest thing ever made because it allows people to choose, watching what you do on this format or go into a theater and see it on a screen. That means more people than ever will see what I do, which is personally satisfying in terms of vanity. But you have to be able to adapt, to accept things in different order and length than we’re used to. We are in a very, very exciting time.
~ Nic Refn to Jen Yamato

DEADLINE: You mention Tarantino, who with Christopher Nolan and a few other giants, saved film stock from extinction. To him, showing a digital film in a theater is the equivalent of watching TV in public. Make an argument for why digital is a good film making canvas.
REFN: Costwise, it’s a very effective way for young people to start making movies. You can make your movie on an iPhone. It’s wonderful seeing how my own children use technology to enhance creativity. For me it’s a wonderful canvas. Sure, I love grain in film. I love celluloid. But I also like creativity. I like crayons, I like pencils, I like paint. It’s all relative. Technology is more inclusive. A hundred years ago when film was invented, it was an elitist club. Very few people got to make it, very few people controlled it and very few people owned it. A hundred years later, storytelling through images is everyone’s domain. It’s ultimate capitalism. There are no rules, and no barriers and no Hays Code. Where does this go in another hundred years? I don’t know but I would love to see it.
~ Nic Refn To Jen Yamato