Just gotta get this off my chest…
(it’s all in the first comment)
DON’T READ UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE.
1) Okay, wallet guy? C’mon. HAD to be him from the start.
2) Does Michelle Monaghan’s character seem kind of… cra-a-azy to you? Watch out, Jake! You’re not out of the woods yet.
3) Jeffrey Wright’s weirdly autistic performance was a lot of fun, but I swear it made it seem (especially when he gives that ridiculous pseudo-scientific explanation) that he was simply making it up as he went along.
4) Yes, I mostly liked it. Mostly. Though all movies are vastly improved when I see them with Ivy.
5) Who thinks the freeze frame ending was the original ending (before script doctors/test audiences)? Ivy liked the happy tack-on fake out. I was… okay with it. But the freeze frame was more elegant.
6) Vera Farmiga is 50% of everything that works in that movie. What a pro.
7) Did a lot of young screenwriters see Vanilla Sky at an impressionable age or what? (or Fight Club? Matrix? Is this a genre yet?)
Okay thanks! Just had to say something. Peace out.
I liked the freeze frame ending better also Scott.
The whole thing felt like Groundhog’s Day…but with a bomb instead of a groundhog.
I think they could’ve picked a better character to have been the bad guy. It was pretty obvious.
Yeah, I thought of Groundhog Day once or twice, though I think they steered clear in the end.
I was thinking Groundhog Day mashed up with Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun” even before the reveal of Jake’s character in the lab.
And I actually thought credits were about to roll when the freeze frame hit. The “here’s how parallel universes work” explanation ending was flat. Not sure how that tested out better than the freeze if it was indeed tested.
I enjoyed the movie and I agree with the Groundhog day comment. But the ending totally spoiled the whole experience. I’m sure they were trying to get an ending that would leave you thinking…but I’m so tired of movies that tie up loose ends with a plot hole.
So you have an explosion, you send in your dead solider, he fixes it and then you discover that he wasn’t going back to an experience in the past but to a future event?
Classic time-trap, so how do they know to send him?
Not that any of this really makes sense, but I assumed they were telling us that every venture created an alternate reality — the all purpose killing-your-grandpa loophole.
I loved and hated that they got Scott Bakula as the voice of Colter’s father. Loved it for the obvious reason, hated it because it broke me out of the story, and got me thinking on a meta-level.
I actually went to a screening of this with the director, Duncan Jones, who did a Q&A. Apparently the “freeze frame” was the end of the original script, which he didn’t write. But as a fairly devoted SF fan, he felt it left too many implications unexplored, and decided to extend it and pursue various SF elements a little further. I’m a little undecided about the result, but I definitely get where he was coming from. This was his first time working with someone else’s script — Gyllenhaal brought Jones onto the project because of his work on Moon — and he’s normally more of a hard-SF person.
Ha! I knew it that was the original ending!
Gotta say, DJ’s reasons may have been sincere, but surely the elephant in the room was that Hollywood Just Doesn’t DO that.
I agree regarding the freeze frame ending, but I saw it with my wife and I know she would have complained endlessly about the unresolved nature of that ending.
So I’m grateful they pushed it one step beyond. It made the ride home more pleasant.
Don’t really know what’s going on here, but regarding this (Clay’s) point mom and I went to see “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (1969) and she was **really** annoyed we never found out who won …
That’s odd, because I remember the ending of They Shoot Horses Don’t They as…
…the main couple did indeed win, but they were still screwed and depressed (and maybe dead—it’s been a while).
I have to say, I think the claim that the ending as-is is the more pat ending are missing the implications. The fact that it provides a facile happy ending for people who don’t want to pursue it further is a bonus – similar to MINORITY REPORT’s happy ending which is acknowledged to be a fantasy being played out in the head of the imprisoned character.
This ending is set up from the get-go by Gyllenhall’s flashes during transitions where he sees the Chicago ‘bean.’ Does that mean this was predestined? Maybe it means all these realities already exist and he’s just bopping around them.
If they’re being created every time the Source Code fires off then that’s pretty significant – in an effort to resolve what is a cosmically insignificant and very localized event they’re creating entire universes of people to ogle the result. Who is to say that in future SC jumps they won’t do something horrible in pursuit of finding the information they need? They already revealed their willingness to do that in their instructions to Gyllenhall in past ‘jumps.’
And despite Gyllenhall from ‘universe prime’ now being happily ensconced in someone else’s body there’s still one of him being kept in a bubble like a toy waiting to be played with.
I think looking at this ending as a simply happy one overlooks how subversive it is.
Very good points, Don. I did think this while sitting through the ending, and while I wasn’t terribly impressed with the film itself, I found the ideas behind it to be astounding. Your hypothesis of creating entirely new universes in order to maintain the one reminded me of the story ‘Mozart in Mirrorshades’ by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner. In that story, a company has taken to time travel in order to collect more natural resources for the future. However, when a time portal is opened, it actual creates a new timeline — a new universe — that has no effect on the original. The protagonist in the story hangs with Mozart and Marie Antoinette, engaging in concerts, sex, drugs, etc., all while the company for which he works is helping to establish the United States and mining for oil as part of its agreement. Eventually, it all goes to hell when the secondary- and tertiary-universe figures infiltrate the original timeline and wreak havoc.
If you didn’t like the ending (especially the last eight minutes) I recommend going back to see it again. But just the very end of the movie. If you *still* don’t like it, try going back to see the ending again. And if you still don’t like it after that, try going back and seeing it again. And if you still don’t like it…
SOURCE CODE doesn’t even begin to warrant repeated viewings. If you want to watch a really good, hard-SF film involving time travel and alternate realities, watch PRIMER. I’ve seen it twice now and still can’t fully wrap my head around it.
Here’s what bugged me all the way home about the “new” ending. What happened to the teacher who originally got on the train in the “new” reality? No matter how you slice it, I don’t think you can avoid the conclusion that Gyllenhaal’s character is a murderer.
Yes, that annoyed me too. Are we to suppose the poor teacher’s consciousness just ceased to exist in that version of reality after Jake took over his body?
Overall, good but not great film. The central premise of Source Code and the explanation of how it works was just too clunky to make it a classic, as well the other reasons mentioned here. Lacked the elegance of something like The Matrix. Although I concede that calling The Matrix elegant is faintly ludicrous in itself.
YES! I’ve been dying to talk about this to, but didn’t think there was anyone out there to listen.
1. Ok, first, the rules of how the realities existed were not consistent. The man in charge made it seem initially that they were parallel realities that only temporarily existed for 8 min, and then blinked out of existence. But then, Gyllenhaal SEES the explosion from a distance during one of the trips, which means that the reality existed BEYOND the 8 min cap! So then, I assumed that they were creating separate realities for each trip that continued on forever. With that understanding, the ending text on the cell phone was a meaningless twist, because I had already figured out that they were creating new worlds.
Furthermore, Gyllenhaal living happily ever after with the girl is a huge betrayal of her trust! If they have sex, it’s essentially rape since she certainly wouldn’t consent to having sex with someone who possessed her friend’s body. A friend, who is essentially dead now.
And that’s another thing. Gyllenhaal’s heroic sacrifice is meaningless if he survives! I thought they were going to pull back from the kiss, and the actor who played the teacher would return (a la Quantum Leap). That version of Gyllenhaal would have died, but he would have nobly sacrificed himself and created a new world where the girl and the teacher would be happy. THEN, that cell phone text message at the end would have had meaning because it would be a message from beyond the grave.
Basically, I loved the movie, and HATED the end.
Totally agree. Had Gyllenhaal’s character actually died, instead of maintaining possession of the teacher, it would have been a much better ending. Instead, you’ve got a ghost who’s walking around in another man’s skin, with another man’s girl, who’ll likely live in perfect ennui because he’d given up his adventurous, military lifestyle.
I wrote a review of it here: http://www.bullet-reviews.com/source-code-2011/
I’m pretty much in league with you on this one. It had potential to be a lot better than it was, but utilized too many Hollywood tropes: i.e. bullshit ‘science’, needless inclusion of a love interest, and the ‘happy’ ending.
MOON was far superior, but SOURCE CODE did little to fuel my desire to champion Jones’ works.
Contents ©2022 Scott McCloud