Imagine if you were forced to relive eight minutes of someone else's life over and over again. This is the intriguing premise of "Source Code," the second feature by Duncan Jones, the director of "Moon" and the unsurprisingly talented spawn of David Bowie.
When young soldier Colter Stephens (Jake Gyllenhaal) awakens, he finds himself on a Chicago commuter train sitting across from a beautiful woman named Christina (Michelle Monaghan). Confused as to why she thinks he is a schoolteacher named Sean Fentress, Colter explores his surroundings until a bomb goes off eight minutes later, destroying the train and killing everyone on board.
Colter is instantly transported back to a capsule where he is questioned on a monitor by Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who keeps pushing Colter to find the bomb and who planted it. As much in the dark about what is happening to him as the audience, Colter keeps being transported back onto the same train for the same eight minutes. Each time Colter finds more clues about the bomb and investigates suspicious passengers while falling fast for Christina, the only friendly face who seems to recognize him in this "Groundhog Day" from hell.
Each time a frantic Colter returns to the capsule, he pushes Colleen to give him more information about his mission. Colleen starts to feel sympathy for her soldier and gets the head of the program, Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), to reveal to Colter what Source Code is and how the technology will help them save millions of lives -- he just needs to locate the terrorist so they can find him before he detonates a dirty nuclear bomb in Chicago.
There are many twists and turns in this mindbending sci-fi thriller that are better experienced firsthand than explained away here; suffice it to say that you are right there with Gyllenhaal as he tries to climb his way out of the rabbit hole and become a true hero. Jones is two for two with his movies and is fast becoming something of a cinematic sci-fi visionary.
There are plenty of science-fiction movies with aliens, laser guns and spaceships, but "Source Code" is for the thinking man. Put aside any reservations that spending eight minutes over and over again with Gyllenhaal might get monotonous. "Source Code" is a train you don't want to miss.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an audio commentary with Jones, writer Ben Ripley and Gyllenhall; the Blu-ray adds an interactive picture-in-picture track that features interviews with the cast and crew, experts' commentary on time travel, trivia, animated documentary shorts and more.