Last year, I watched and enjoyed the film Moon, a sci-fi mystery about a lone man on a lunar base who gradually discovered that things were not as it seemed. So when Source Code was sold on the strength of it being ‘from the creators of Moon’, I felt sure that this was a film I must watch. Unfortunately, the experience turned out to be a major disappointment.
Source Code is one of those films where it’s almost impossible to describe the plot without giving away some kind of spoiler. Nonetheless, I shall do my best not to ruin more than the first few minutes by explaining that it sees air force pilot Colter Stevens being sent into a simulated reconstruction of a recent train explosion. His job is to relive the last eight minutes prior to the explosion and identify the culprit so that the authorities can arrest him before he strikes again.
So without giving anything further away, what we have here is a spiritual successor to Quantum Leap, but where Sam Beckett was smart, savvy and accompanied by a hologram, Colter Stevens is an idiot and entirely unsuited for his job. His idiotic blunders through the simulation are almost painful to watch, and by the time he starts making progress on his mission, it’s more of a relief than anything else. It doesn’t help that all the characters are as paper thin and one-dimensional as it gets, to the extent that it’s an effort even to recall their names.
But all of this could perhaps be forgiven if the film hadn’t blown the last of my goodwill with an ending that manages to not only be bad, but doubly so. At the point where Source Code should have ended, it cops out not once, but twice, creating a big nonsensical mess of a conclusion that will leaving you feeling enraged towards not only the film, but at everyone who worked on it.
The irony of it all is that Source Code had some good ideas behind it, and if it was turned into a ‘Quantum Leap crime drama’ TV series, I might have some time with it. Unfortunately, the execution of this movie leaves us with little more than a damp squib – you’ll have a lot more fun mocking it than trying to take it at all seriously.