Having had Source Code ringed on my calendar from pretty much the day it was announced, I had a real air of nervousness approaching this.

I absolutely loved Duncan Jones’ first effort, Moon, and as all lovers of entertainment will know, that second project can always be a stumbling block.

And that is why I am relieved, delighted and excited to tell you that not only has Jones done it again with this slice of thoughtful sci-fi, but in many ways it even tops his debut.

Jake Gyllenhaal is the star here, playing an Air Force helicopter pilot recruited for a top-secret, hi-tech operation.

The mission?

Well, that is where the Source Code comes in – a groundbreaking new technology that allows a person to take over the body of another individual for the last eight minutes of their life.

The idea here is that a deadly bomb has destroyed a packed passenger train near Chicago, so Gyllenhaal’s Colter Stevens is sent into the body of a traveller to try and work out who the bomber is and stop them.

The hook obviously is that he has only eight minutes to do it, and if he fails the process simply starts again with him waking up on the train.

That concept, a sort of terrorist groundhog day, had my juices flowing when I first read about it and it is superbly handled by Jones.

There is no doubt the simple repeating of sequences and dialogue could become tiresome in the wrong hands, but with a developing storyline, an emphasis on different characters each time and a morsel of information heading the audience’s way, we are just as much part of the process as the star.

That may be what really reeled me in here, as Source Code is almost like seeing a mystery unravel in front of your eyes, as you desperately try to piece the puzzle together yourself.

Gyllenhaal is on fine form, alternating between confusion, suspicion, anger, elation and sentimentality in the blink of an eye in a well-rounded performance.

A lot of that comes from him bouncing off Michelle Monaghan’s Christina, who Stevens grows fonder of each time he enters Source Code, to the extent that he is willing to ditch the mission in order to try and save here.

Sterling support comes from both Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright as the boffins behind the project, providing Stevens’ connection to the real world.

This really rattles along at a tremendous pace, dropping us straight into the action from the off and rarely letting go.

To be fair, the pace does flag slightly after the half-way mark, but then a superbly-judged conclusion is both amazingly emotional and superbly judged.

Packed full of ideas, almost guaranteed to get you talking afterwards and genuinely thrilling for the bulk of its running time, Source Code is everything I hoped and more.

Roll on Duncan Jones’ next project – I cannot wait.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.