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.”).