If a science fiction film is worth its admission price it will allow you to forget temporarily that you are watching a sci-fi movie at all, instead allowing you to get drawn into its own alternate reality by introducing believable characters with a quest that you can relate to.
Regardless of what the characters are up to be it conquering a new universe or traveling through time, if they have enough humanity to them you likely will travel right along with them believing in almost every word. Luckily for the writers of the Source Code, they were able to accomplish this as the concept becomes less farfetched the longer you watch it.
The movie kicks off with Jake Gyllenhaal waking up on a commuter train in Chicago in a body that he does not recognize along with a companion played by Michelle Monaghan who refers to him as Sam, someone he does not know. She tells him that he’s acting weird, but he continues to deny her story that the two know each other because he knows that he should be Captain Colter Stevens who is on assignment in Afghanistan and not just another commuter on the train with a girlfriend in tow.
For eight minutes you get trapped in the film watching the characters exchange words until the train shockingly explodes and you are back to Captain Colter Stevens in his real life as he wakes up in a communications pod only to realize that for eight minutes he was in Sean’s body re-living the reality of the last eight minutes of this guy’s life. The military sent him into Sean’s body in an attempt to help them find out who blew up the train because the same madman is also threatening to blow up most of Chicago if they cannot quickly figure out who he is.
The person in charge of making sure that Colter succeeds as Sean is an officer played by Vera Farmiga. She forces him to continue going back on the train to relive the event over and over again until he can figure out who the bomber is. Head scientist in charge of the mission, Jeffrey Wright, tells him that he cannot stop the train from exploding, but that the main goal of his mission is only to find the bomber. Of course, Capt. Colter wants to be the hero and is determined to not only find the bomber, but to save the people on the train as well by reliving the eight minute as many times as it takes to do so.
While the plot may seem a bit silly, for 93 minutes you find yourself drawn into it as the director Duncan Jones sparingly gives out details to the audience one step at a time along as Colter learns them. Before long you start to work on beating Colter to the solution and fall with each of his mistakes as well. Outside of the plot, the real reason that Source Code is worth viewing is Gyllenhaal and Farmiga who really make it come alive as you wonder how you would spend your last eight minutes of life if you knew that was it.