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A helicopter pilot Gyllenhaal recruited for a top-secret military operation finds himself on a startlingly different kind of mission in Source Code, a smart, fast-paced action thriller that challenges our assumptions about time and space. Filled with mind-boggling twists and heart-pounding suspense, Source Code is directed by Duncan Jones Moon.
Director Duncan Jones made a stellar first impression with 2009's Moon, a stylish, gratifyingly deep science-fiction movie that favored heart and soul over flashy special effects. Source Code, Jones's much anticipated follow-up, proves that his debut was far from a fluke, blending techno-thriller and character study with deceptive ease. Shot in a clean, no-frills fashion, Ben Ripley's script follows an MIA soldier Jake Gyllenhaal who awakes in a mysterious capsule, with contact with the outside world limited to a video feed from a shadowy military officer the fantastically poker-faced Vera Farmiga. As events unfold, he learns that he's the participant in an experiment that lets him relive a stranger's past life in 8-minute chunks, a process that will hopefully allow him to avert the terrorist bombing of a packed commuter train. Jones, aided by Chris Brown's wonderfully overt '80s homage of a score, wrings an impressive amount of tension out of the constantly rewinding story, with each time jump revealing another small piece of the overall puzzle, as well as deepening the relationship between Gyllenhaal and fellow passenger Michelle Monaghan. Clocking in at a just-right 93 minutes, this is a funny, tense, and surprisingly moving film that perhaps never quite reaches the ingenuity that its premise suggests. If this counts as a sophomore slump, it's of an extremely mild, very entertaining variety. --Andrew Wright