What we’re watching: Hatchet movie picks

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Joel Goldberg.

“Source Code” (2011)

Early in “Source Code,” the objective presents itself: Do Not Think; React.

The plot of the film unravels like a tediously addictive video game. Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) must complete “the mission” to identify the culprit of a terrorist bombing of a Chicago commuter train. But he mustn’t dare ask why. Or who he is, for that matter. Or how he continually dies, only to turn up in some non-descript, tomb-like compartment.

A series of eight-minute jolts in the brain of a dismembered Air Force pilot provide Gyllenhaal some explanation. They also allow him, and his exacting superior officers (Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright), the opportunity to unlock clues, rectify mistakes and rescue innocent civilians. Through a program called Source Code, which has harnessed a loophole in short-term memory processes, Gyllenhaal receives an allotment of virtual bonus lives. Should he fail to utilize them efficiently and effectively, it’s game over. At least in his virtual world of the Source Code. Supposedly.

“Source Code” neither flatters nor offends through its philosophical explorations of time travel, parallel universes, states of being and martyrdom. Instead, the film grazes these subjects with so little detail that they appear much like flashes of scenery out the window of a commuter train. They linger just long enough for one to identify, then vanish, leaving vague outlines of their significance. Gyllenhaal may discover an alternate route for his runaway train, but the audience remains chained to the rails.

Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Michael Arden
Release Date: April 1, 2011

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