Dropout UK @ Source Code Screening, West End
Bowie Child Delivers The Source Code
"I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human" exclaimed a 25 year old Bowie, following the release of seminal 1972 masterpiece 'The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars'. This coy affirmation from one of musics all-time 'bold and beautifuls' could perhaps help explain the artistic reverie of his son, born a year before the album - director Duncan Zowie Jones.
Formerly a philosophy student, British-born Duncan Jones (also known as 'Joey Zowie') debuted his intellectual discussions on the big screen with 'Moon' in 2009, earning some prestigious awards (BIFA Best Independent Film, Douglas Hickox) along with one-to-watch status. The film heralded a rare confluence of actor, director and storyline, and unlike many myopic releases of recent years, it seamlessly blended the fantasy of nerdy sci-fi with the romance of human purpose.
With enough hallmarks for three young directors, Jones embarked on the shooting of Source Code in 2010, and with the cast seemingly sourced in tandem with the concept again, Dropout UK dropped in to sample an exclusive slice of the action. After excitedly receiving the call, I hustled and bustled my way through a drizzly-but-warm Shaftesbury Avenue, watching the trailer with one hand and checking the time with the other. Just as I became Londoned-out (the feeling you really need to sit down) I found the location of the private screening - the modestly exquisite Soho Hotel. What I found most charming though, was that the movie would be watched in the most comfortable looking leather seats I have probably ever seen.
Source Code is conceptual piece exploring the notions and possibilities of memory and time control, which is ironically similar to Tony Scott's 2006 thriller 'De Ja Vu'. Unlike Denzel Washington in that film, Jake Gylenhall plays Colter Stevens, a former army pilot who is already dead - his body being a manifestation of his brain, which in turn is being kept alive by mad and bad scientist Dr Rutlegde (Jeffrey Wright). Herein lies essence of the Source Code, a conceivable position from which to travel back in time and save the world. The world saving of course, is based around a terrorist plot to bomb New York trains leaving the city in rubble. Colter Stevens enters the body of another human being on one of the trains with a time limit of 8 minutes to be a hero like some sort of amazing computer game.
The movie bucaneers wildly, with Colter Stevens discovering many subliminal emotions as he revisits life over and over again. It is here Jones openly discusses the unlimited potential to feel, and its unrelatedness to body. These views are carried intensely through the aesthetic of a sub romance with a fiercely fashioned Christina, (Michelle Monaghan) a sultry crush he regularly sees on the train. It is refreshing to see just how quickly romance can reveal itself, even if not possible without the pressure of only having eight minutes to live.
Jones packs an awkward and abstract arrangement with economic nous to create the thrill of uncertainty within 93 minutes, though Donnie Darko star Gylenhall shows us an exemplary range of abilities in his all action role. Source Code illustrates a feelgood angle on our hopeless response to modern catastrophe and will invoke typical after film conversation consisting of 'But what if' and 'I bet they already have that technology'.
Source Code sources real dillemma and uses the platform to illustrate philosophical questions about our emotional ability. For its endearing take on love and disaster, and the neat and sharp gusto with which Jones delivers his scenes, you can be forgiven for reminiscing about The Mask (1994) after watching. Although nowhere near that playful mastery, in hindsight Source Code may not just rank as a brilliant follow up to Joey Zowie's first movie but like 'DeJa Vu' a serious reference point for spiritual discussion.
Have a look at the trailer below!
Source Code is released nationwide on April 1st.