Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review: SOURCE CODE (2011): Tense Thriller Onboard a Train, Stuck in a Loop

Source Code 4K UltraHD Blu-ray Review

Source Code (2011) Blu-Ray Review, a movie directed by Duncan Jones, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright.

Release Date: April 1, 2011

Plot

“A soldier wakes up in someone else’s body and discovers he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train. A mission he has only 8 minutes to complete.”

Disc Specifications

Run Time: 94 Minutes

Format: 4K UltraHD Blu-ray

Resolution: 2160p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Language: English (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio), Spanish (5.1 Dolby Digital Audio), French (5.1 Dolby Digital Audio)

Subtitles: Spanish, English (SDH)

Rating: PG-13

Video

Source Code is presented on 4K UHD courtesy of Lionsgate Films and Summit Entertainment with a 2160p transfer. The image quality on this transfer is very well done. In particular, the close-up’s on the train of Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan are impressive, with fine detail of the faces of the actors. The film makes use of a lot of establishing shots of the city of Chicago, and these shots are quite breathtaking. I was able to see in detail many recognizable streets, which added to the realism the film was attempting to convey. Some of the other sequences, like the many dark cockpit scenes, feature improved shadow detail, but could have been lit better. At times I could not tell where the character was in relation to the environment. This may have been a conscious decision by the filmmakers, but even if it was, it made for a lot of squinting.

Audio

Source Code is presented with multiple audio tracks, including English 5.1 DTS-HD, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Optional Spanish and English SDH subtitles are provided for the main feature. The audio in the 4K UHD presentation is exceedingly well done. The film relies heavily on environment sounds within the train (including spilled coffee, tickets being punched, cell phones going off) and all these are well balanced. Dialogue is clear throughout, and the soundtrack by Chris P Bacon is also solid, with a nice title theme that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Blu-Ray Bonus Content

5 Crazy Details You May Have Missed – This extra is pretty limited in what it provides. It essentially is a summary of 5 details that almost no one who is engaged with the film would miss. The featurette lasts 3 minutes, so I did not get anything out of it.

Audio Commentary with Director Duncan Jones, Writer Ben Phillips and Actor Jake Gyllenhaal

Film Review

Source Code is a high concept Science Fiction film akin to Groundhog Day meets Murder on the Orient Express. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Colter Stevens, who wakes up on a commuter train headed inbound to Chicago’s Union Station. He wakes up, and next to him is a woman, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) who calls him Sean Fentress and tells him he is a teacher. Before Colter can make sense of things, the train explodes and we are transported immediately back to Colter strapped down in a cockpit. We learn via a monitor from Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) that Colter is currently a soldier that is in a secret government program known as “Source Code”, one which allows him to relive the same eight minutes aboard the train as Sean the teacher. The government hopes that Colter can find a clue on the train that will prevent a future terrorist attack they believe will happen in the city within hours.

What I loved about Source Code is how the director was able to balance the many twists and turns, while still anchored with an emotional love story between Colter and Christina. The film is layered much like Inception, with careful planning by the writer/director to keep audiences guessing whether they are watching characters in reality or in the virtual “source code” world. The film has lots of surprises, and I won’t go into too much more detail because it would rob the viewer of the experience.

With Source Code, Jake Gyllenhaal continues to impress with his selections in roles he takes. He clearly has a drive to show you something that has not been seen before, portraying characters that are broken with deep psychological issues. Here he is a soldier who is trapped in a government program, coming to terms with his fallen unit and the fact that he cannot save all the lives on the train. Michelle Monoghan has a nice innocence about her, and does well with a role that could have otherwise been banal. The relationship between her and Colter could have been developed a little better. Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright also give solid performances, with clear motivations for their actions in keeping Colter Stevens locked up in this program.

Overall, Source Code is a suspenseful, ingenious thriller with an intriguing premise at its core; living the final eight minutes of someone else’s life through a computer simulation. The choice too shoot in Chicago and utilize practical effects paid off, as it added to the realism of a terrorist attack taking place on a real commuter line. This is a smart film, one that demands the viewer to participate with the film and deduce what is happening injunction with its characters. The 4K Blu-ray special features are pretty pathetic, but otherwise this is recommended to purchase for anyone who enjoys smart SciFi.

Rating Source Code: 8/10

Disc Acquisition

You can purchase Source Code here.

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About the author

Kyle Steininger

Born and raised in Chicago, Kyle has loved movies ever since his father took him to the theater to watch Home Alone. Since then, he has developed a passion for films and everything about them from watching endless DVD extras, interviews with cast/crew, and attending screenings of older films when available. Some of his favorite directors include Kubrick, Fellini, Scorsese, Tarantino, Leone, and Nolan.

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