Source Code is a clever thriller, that toys with its sci-fi elements without ever becoming too much of a geekout. It has an interesting premise that might be familiar, but not so familiar that it’s boring already. Jake Gyllenhaal is brilliant in the lead role, exactly the right actor for this part, showing us the confusion we would expect but also the determination to get out of it without becoming a cleancut hero. He makes mistakes and overreacts at times, making him all the more believable. The movie has fun with its premise and the direction and screenplay constantly keeps up the suspense and surprises.
The movie has a very unique ending, in that the basic plot (finding a terrorist) ends about twenty minutes before the movie is over, which is unusual in itself and we see that there is more to come for our supposedly doomed protagonist. But after Coulter saves the train from exploding, he goes on a path of finding salvation for himself, by calling his father and kissing the girl (Michelle Monaghan). This ends up bringing him into a parallel universe, in which he can live a life instead of serving as a wounded soldier in a military experiment cell. The movie plays this idea very strongly and it is something we all can identify with in our culture, this idea of salvation. Daniel Quinn says that the one thing that all major religions have in common, is that they promise a way to salvation. We feel we need salvation because we learn that we are so flawed, that we can only expect to be complete in some kind of afterlife, but not in this world. Even if I don’t agree with that (because I stopped following our culture’s voice, mostly), the movie has a very beautiful way of giving our hero this salvation, of showing how much in need we are for something like this. And it’s just so cleverly done with the sculpture in the end. So, although I don’t believe in salvation, I think the movie does as good a job as possible in depicting it.