Sunday, July 31, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: Source Code

2011, Duncan Jones (he really doesn't look like a zowie bowie) -- cinema/download

I love time travel flicks. I am up on many of the current genre themes of time travel and "get" most of the theoretical science behind them. They still often make my head go ow-ow-ow. I do like multiple time streams better than the "step on a butterfly" concept as it allows you to ignore what could possibly go wrong. P.S. Doesn't it actually take some effort to step on a butterfly? They usually fly away, right?

Now, this is tres spoilerish but I noticed something in this viewing that may have altered the entire movie for me, as in, it made it not a time travel movie. Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) has already said that the source-code is not time travel, more "time re-assignment." In other words, he's not affecting the time stream / period, more his perception of it. Its essentially a massive simulation of the events based on the living last 8 minutes they have access to. No travelling at all, just an alternate view into the past.

There is a key point where Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is begging Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) to let him go back into the source-code one more time so he can save the people on the train. She knows it doesn't work that way but also knows that this can be his only reward for a job well done -- he's going to be reset for the next event. At that exact point, Stevens goes from sitting on the floor of the "pod" to back in the harness. Poof. That is the point of shift. That scene is the magical infinite second in a dying man's brain. His own mind builds a reality where he changes time, saves the girl and lives happily ever after. Then, how does Goodwin get the text message? She doesn't; it's just the Happily Ever After Simulation (his last thoughts enhanced by the source-code) showing us what his perfect reality is. Sean Fentress really died and there is no conversation about the moral ambiguities of hijacking his life, after saving it. Stevens is switched off. Its kind of depressing, not Happily Ever After at all.

Bonus Paragraph: Bleah, I think I will go back in my own source-code and just see this as a time-travel movie.