The thing with Sci-Fi in Hollywood is that the pitch is often amazing, but the film fails to be interesting as it falls in line with the “rules” that Hollywood insists must be followed. Good must triumph over evil, the hero must get the girl, the goodies believe that they have God on their side and the baddies must always wear leather! It kind of renders the pitch irrelevant as once the premise is out of the way, the rest is predictable old cack!
Now I’m not saying that this film doesn’t tick some of these boxes, but it gave the impression that it wasn’t a priority. Instead it is interested in telling a good story, not peaking too soon, trusting in itself that the audience is both intelligent enough to follow the plot and is still entertained even though it may not be filling every waking moment with mild-altering special effects. The concept is effect enough and it is illustrated using some marvellous good old fashioned film techniques and a deft ecomony of script that leaves us savvy to what is happening without them having to insert a scene in which the brains of the outfit (which ever character is wearing glasses) patronises us all with a classroom explanation involving the ubiquitous blackboard and the phrase “imagine I have two apples…”
Beautifully understated acting from Jake Gyllenhaal (who could be the next Harrison Ford) and a lovely performance from Vera Farmiga. Both actors have an impressive CV so far with a good range of films. Shame Vera Farmiga isn’t British, though she wouldn’t be out of place in a British movie (but hey, she’s probably got bigger fish to fry!)
Overall the movie was so much better than I was expecting. Coming out the same time as the Adjustment Bureau probably didn’t help as for cinema goers that was always going to be a case of picking one over the other…. and given it starred Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau would have probably won. Which is a shame!
Anyway, I’d buy “Source Code” on DVD now if I were you.