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SOURCE CODE ($30) is a fast, tight, entertaining and smartly constructed sci-fi thriller that never wears out its welcome. Despite its brevity, SOURCE CODE actually manages to incorporate a good deal of character development into fast moving story, which elevates it above many other sci-fi action movies. What I particularly liked about SOURCE CODE is the fact that its intriguing premise is reminiscent of the very best stories that one would find in the original incarnations of THE OUTER LIMITS or THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the intriguing premise is married to big budget motion picture production values, thus making SOURCE CODE a thinking man’s sci-fi flick in an eye candy package.

SOURCE CODE stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens, an Afghani War veteran, who awakens on a Chicago bound commuter train, with no knowledge of how he got there, and being mistaken for another man by the beautiful woman (Michelle Monaghan) occupying the seat opposite him. Eight minutes into his disorienting train ride, a bomb explodes and Stevens awakens in a small compartment, assuming what he has experienced was some sort of military training simulation. However, Stevens quickly learns that it was no mere simulation, and that he is part of a secret project known as Source Code, which allows a participant to enter the past, via an alternate reality, and live the last eight minutes of the life of a compatible subject.

As it turns out, a terrorist really has blown up the Chicago bound commuter train, and project Source Code is undergoing its first real world test. In actuality, the bombing commuter train was only a precursor to a much larger event, one that involves a dirty nuclear device, which the bomber intends to detonate in downtown Chicago. Although unsure how he became involved in the Source Code project, Stevens mission objective is made clear, he is to return to the past to discover the identity of the bomber, before said bomber has the opportunity to detonate the second, more devastating device. What follows are multiple trips to the past, which reveal more and more pieces of the puzzle about the bombing, and how Colter Stevens went from an army helicopter pilot… to time traveler. The cast of SOURCE CODE also includes Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Michael Arden, Cas Anvar, Russell Peters, Brent Skagford, Craig Thomas, Gordon Masten and Scott Bakula.

Summit Entertainment has made SOURCE CODE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. This is one heck of a terrific 1080p presentation that pleases one’s eye from the get go and just keeps on pleasing until the end credits. The picture appears razor sharp continually and delivers excellent detail. Fine details such as surface textures, pores in the actors’ skin and individual hairs are all clearly visible. Colors are slightly skewed towards a cool blue/green tinge, but flesh tones are appreciably warmer and appear pretty flattering. Saturation is good, but never overstated. Blacks are deep and whites are completely stable. Additionally, contrast is perfectly smooth. Shadow detail is generally quite good, but not exemplary. A fine to modest level of film grain is present, which enhances the overall look of the presentation and adds an organic quality.

SOURCE CODE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design is effectively implemented, using all of the outlying channels to bring the repeated train ride to life, and then the sound kicks into overdrive for more action oriented sequences. The lossless encode not only enhances Chris P. Bacon perfectly tuned music, it also provides the sound effects with a totally convincing quality. The bass channel has excellent weight and provides all the necessary explosive force that the material requires. Dialogue is very cleanly rendered and the actors' voices maintain a natural timbre. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track has also been encoded onto the disc, as have English and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Duncan Jones, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and writer Ben Ripley. The disc also features an Access Source Code interactive viewing mode that offers interviews, trivia and other programs in a picture-in-picture window (requires a Profile 1.1 player).

SOURCE CODE is well-crafted and entertaining sci-fi thriller. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent. Highly recommended.


Source Code [Blu-ray] (2011)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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