If Jake Gyllenhal made a move, I’m not saying I would say no. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s discuss one of my favorite sci-fi thrillers starring JG (we gave each other fun nicknames, it’s not a big deal) – Source Code. The premise is that JG (we’re here now, just let me have this) is a military vet thrust into anti-terrorism time travel – just your average day job. Specifically, he is tasked with preventing a bomb detonation that occurred on a commuter train. The twist is this time travel occurs through his brain being transferred to a stranger’s body that died in the train bombing. Strangely, this brain transfer occurs without his permission like some unethical science experiment. My Dad, who is randomly a massive lover of quantum mechanics, found the science didn’t align perfectly, but for the rest of us who aren’t total nerds, who cares.
Initially, we’re thrust into his first train ride and JG seems confused, uncomfortable, lost and anxious. He also causes concern among his female counterpart played by Michelle Monaghan who is perplexed that her friend doesn’t seem to recognize her. He walks into the bathroom and when he looks in the mirror he sees the face of someone else. Sometimes I wish the same thing would happen to me, but I’ll save that for Dr. Schwartz. This leads to more panic before the train explodes for the first of many times.
When the bomb kills JG, he lands in a different, strange room where he’s met by a military leader via computer screen (as if he’s a hostage) desperately asking him, “Did you find the bomb?” From there we follow JG as he fights to understand the almost jail like scenario he’s in while being pressured to keep time travelling back to the train to find the bomb. While asking questions to the military leader, JG is practically begged to stop inquiring because his country’s safety is on the line (more bombings are anticipated). Rather, she insists he gets back to the train, groundhog day style, diffuse the bomb and stop the bomber. It’s fascinating because even though JG seems trapped you sense the military leader’s intentions are genuine.
So, we are thrown into continuous scenarios where JG tries to solve the puzzle of disarming the bomb, finding the bomber and desperately trying to understand his own whereabouts in between detonations. Not only is it engrossing but as he gets to know the strangers on the train and the military leader, he also further understands his own situation and it is truly mind bending.
Listen, I did my best to explain this sophisticated plot and sure my Dad thought it was below him and I failed yet again to gain his approval, but seriously it’s worth a watch. Don’t be a quantum mechanics nerd, just enjoy the thrilling mystery.
Seth Borkowski is a New York-based writer who enjoys writing about dating, self-improvement, sports and the challenges of growing older as a millennial. You can read more of his work at sethborkowski.com.