Disturbing mirrors of a sci-fi thriller

"Source code", written by Ben Ripley,
directed by Duncan Jones

Early on in “Source code” its hero, confused with not understanding who and where he is, glances into a train bathroom mirror and jumps in shock seeing somebody’s else face as his own reflection. This potentially intriguing revelation, due to the genre of the film, is quickly dealt with a stock sci-fi explanation. Yet, seeing that we are not who we think we are, breaking the safe walls of our identity convention is one of the rarely touched domains of film, which seems to be the ideal medium for such explorations.

Another disturbing moment of the screening occurred, this time, outside of the screen. As the plot kept moving around a terrorist thread hidden in a car, a voice come through the movie theater speakers calling for the owner of a particular car left in a parking space to immediately return to the vehicle. A slight wave of nervousness rolled throughout the theater: was the car just blocking somebody wanting to get out or was it already surrounded by anti-terrorists suspecting a bomb and the shopping mall was to be evacuated? Were we in danger? Was the reality mirroring the film?

What do we attend dark movie theaters really for? Is it to come close (but never too close) to those questions that we are afraid to face in reality?

Are the screens acquiring some sort of artificial intelligence and perhaps start to reflect back to us that which we may not be ready to face?

Isn’t the constant strive for films to become current plain dangerous? In a very practical way the reality and its screen representation may get entangled in each other so much that we will lose the sense of who and where we are.

Another strange conclusion from “The source code” - once dead, the only way to stay alive for a short while longer is to assume the identity of a (more?) dead person. If you do it with heart and for the right reasons, it may grant you new (alternative) life!

All that is telegraphed, galloping with the requirements of a spectacle. Such films are as much intriguing, stimulating, entertaining as they are frustrating with their unrealized potentials. It seems that the genre is already nimble enough to deliver thrills without necessarily being contrived in their plots, issues and their solutions.

1 comment:

  1. I really didn't like Source Code. I thought it lacked any sort of directorial or visual imagination, the ending is one of the worst things I've since the presidential plane crashed in Smoleńsk and, most of all, the film is full of a LOT of painfully unrealized potential for a very interesting story. After the intruiging setup in the first 15 minutes it seems like the screenwriter goes for lunch and everything just settles into a sci-fi thriller so standard and mediocre that I really couldn't believe I was watching a movie directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son by the way) who made wonderful "Moon" a while ago and a film that I recommend to you way more than this one :) And, yeah, the story at the end really makes absolutely no sense at all. I guess I didn't like the same things you didn't but for me they're so crucial that with them broken the movie simply isn't able to be even mildly entertaining. Rather irritating.