Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Movie Review: Source Code

The movie Source Code is definitely science fiction. It posits a technology that currently does not exist and explores the ramifications of that technology. Unfortunately Source Code delves deep into the ways such a technology can be used, but carefully skirts many of the moral decisions that are generated in conjunction with that technology. In the movie the new technology is called "source code" [1] and it allows researchers to send someone's mind back in time—but the traveling mind must meet some very strict prerequisites and must inhabit the body of someone else, in the past, eight minutes before they die.[2] The researchers use the machine to investigate an act of terrorism, hoping to catch the terrorist before he strikes again.

My verdict: The movie has some interesting plot twists, which made the movie more enjoyable for me. The movie score by Chris Bacon was okay (it kind of reminded me of James Newton Howard's score for Signs). There is some clever use of allusion (the code name of the Source Code project is Beleaguered Castle, which, as Wikipedia puts it, is a solitaire card game in which "most games are doomed to fail in just a few moves." [3]) and imagery (the Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois). This movie had a lot of potential, but the deal breaker for me was that it completely overlooked a few key moral questions that demanded more attention.[4]


[1] The name for the phenomenon was arbitrary (i.e. had nothing to do with computation), so it was a poor choice for the name of the movie.

[2] However, there is a plot hole here:

[3] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beleaguered Castle.


Image attributions:

Cloud Gate is by laffy4k, available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/73207064@N00/278866287. 

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