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5 live Review: Source Code

Monday 4 April 2011, 14:39

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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5 live's resident movie critic Dr Mark Kermode reviews Source Code.

Go to Mark on 5 live for more reviews and film debate.

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You can hear Mark talk about the latest films on Kermode & Mayo's Film Review on BBC Radio 5 live every Friday 2pm-4pm. The programme is also available as a podcast.

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    Comment number 1.

    Really surprised you liked this one.

    The problem with this film is that none of the ideas bear thinking about too much before they collapse under their own ineptness.

    Even if there might be a couple of holes or possible holes in Inception it pretty much holds together (the whole idea of levels in dreams is a bit problematic but not any where near as problematic as the ideas in Source Code). Pretty much any problem I have with Inception I can come up with one or more theories about how I can resolve it, with Source Code it really isn't worth investing any time at all into trying to think about how it could make sense).

    From that point of view, I would say this film is actually worse than a brain dead Micheal Bay or McGee film because their films don't have the pretensions that this one does. There were a couple of good moments near the end but they were very poorly explained. I am aware of the "Many Worlds" theory of Quantum Physics (because that's the way reality probably is, folks [Yes, it is]),
    but the idea that you can send messages between these worlds via the internet is totally risible.

    "OK, What about the whole thing being a dream?". I think that's been done.

    I dont want to do any plot spoilers or get too deeply into the ideas (because they are mostly not worth it). One of the big problems I had with the beginning of this film is the way the exposition is done. If you are going to send someone on a mission, don't you think you would brief them first? We waste a hell of a lot of time with, "What the hell is going on here?", "Who's in charge?" etc.

    A movie like Groundhog Day works because it just says "here's the reality." You don't question it, you just understand what is going on and don't have to think about the "how?" or "why?" and the film explores the problems of the reality without having to explain it and it really is about something else anyway.

    The special effects in Source Code were pretty poor too. Nice touch in having Scott Bakula voice the father, though.

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    Comment number 2.

    Um, McG, not McGee. Well I haven't seen any of his films

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    Comment number 3.

    The plot makes me think of that line from the movie The Beach: "This is just the kind of pretentious bs that Americans always say to French girls so they can sleep with them."

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    Comment number 4.

    Mark, you didn't mention it in your review but did you find there were thematic similarities with Moon? Firstly both films focus on employment ethics and secondly both feature a clandestine dehumanisation of our subjects, countered by a surfacing of humanistic emotions which adds a beautiful core in each film. I saw Source Code as a companion piece to Moon which enhanced my enjoyment of the film, seems clear to me that Duncan Jones obviously cares very much about these aforementioned themes.

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    Comment number 5.

    @danguardface, I agree about common themes. In both films the protagonist interacts with some other kind of remote reality; through a computer voice in Moon and through a person on a TV screen in Source Code (although the question of what is real and what is not real is different in both). In both films the protagonist has to find out and then come to terms with who/what they are. In Moon obviously the action takes place in a remote location and the same in source code. Both films have themes where characters are heard but not seen ( emotional telephone conversations in both films and the computer voice and final code in Moon)


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