Friday, May 13, 2011

Source Code

Source Code / Source Code [Finnish / Swedish translations would be Lähdekoodi / Källkod]. US/FR © 2011 Vendôme International. P: Mark Gordon, Philippe Rousselet, Jordan Wynn. D: Duncan Jones (= Zowie Bowie). SC: Ben Ripley. DP: Don Burgess. PD: Barry Chusid. Visual Effects, Special Effects: huge staffs from Data Wranglers, Rodeo FX, Fly Studio, Oblique FX, Mr. X Inc, etc. Costumes: Renée April. Makeup: Kathy Kelso. Hair stylist: Michelle Côté. M: Chris Bacon. S: Tom Belfort, Branden Spencer. ED: Paul Hirsch. LOC: Chicago (Illinois); Montréal (Québec) posing as Chicago. Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor at the Millennium Park (Chicago). Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Colter Stevens), Michelle Monaghan (Christina Waren), Vera Farmiga (Colleen Goodwin), Jeffrey Wright (Dr. Rutledge), Michael Arden (Derek Frost). 93 min. Released in Finland by Sandrew with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Anna-Leea Kahila / Carina Laurila. DCP 2K viewed at Tennispalatsi 6, Helsinki, 13 May 2011 (day of Finnish premiere).

Technical Specifications (IMDb): Cameras: Iconix Camera, Panavision Panaflex, Millennium XL2, Panavision Primo Lenses, Phantom HD Camera, Red One Camera, Panavision Primo Lenses. Film negative format: 35 mm (Kodak), Redcode RAW. Cinematographic process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Digital (source format) (some scenes), Redcode RAW (4K) (source format) (some scenes), Spherical (source format). Printed film format: 35 mm (Fuji Eterna-CP 3514DI), D-Cinema. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

IMDb synopsis: "An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train."

This original cyberthriller has been compared with Groundhog Day, Brazil, Lola rennt, Moon, Memento, The Butterfly Effect, Déjà vu, Vantage Point, and Inception. I would also add La Glâce à trois faces, Seconds, Przypadek / Blind Chance, Sliding Doors, and cyberpunk films including Blade Runner, Videodrome, The Terminator, Twelve Monkeys, The Matrix - and Avatar. Cyberthrillers are about inner reality being mingled with or replaced by computer code or virtual reality. Despite its many familiar connections Source Code represents a fresh approach to the cyberthriller genre.

The script by Ben Ripley is strong, directed by Duncan Jones with inspiration. I look forward to seeing Moon, Jones's first film, which went straight to dvd in Finland.

Source Code makes no scientific or logical sense. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan are the attractive leads, both in top form. (But I paused to think that for over 40 years now men have been sexual magnets in mainstream American films, and the women's role has been to look at them adoringly). I would see Source Code as a satire about disorientation in the modern world ("It's the new me". "How well did you know him?" "I'm a dumb luck kind of gal".)

There is a fairy-tale wish-fulfillment ending as Colter Stevens manages to create a parallel reality, to change the past. I would have preferred the freeze-frame ending. But certainly the encounter at Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate is a brilliant image for this movie.

The clean digital look serves this vision of the cyberspace perfectly.

P.S. 15 May 2011. My first instinct was to call Source Code cyberpunk, but there is no punk ambience of alienation and no vision of social breakdown (although themes of extreme alienation and Big Brother surveillance are central). Finally, Source Code is feelgood entertainment.

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