Monday, April 4, 2011

Source Code

photo by Caroline Bonarde Ucci
If I'm cute enough, will you go back in time for me?  
I had a terrible morning on Saturday.  I was finishing up my taxes, which are more complicated than the average person’s.  Since I try to write and sell science fiction and fantasy, a number of books, DVDs, and movies about science, science fiction, fantasy, and folklore that I pay money for is deductible.  Ditto for the conventions and conferences I go to.  (I even saved a receipt from buying a drink on an airline on the way to a convention.) 

So in the afternoon, I went to a mall and hoped to either 1) do some writing, 2) see a movie, or 3) do some reading.  After lunch, I made good progress on a vampire parody I’m writing.  Then I decided to see Source Code.  

Colter Stevens awakes to find himself on a train, with no idea of how he got there.  When the train blows up, killing everyone aboard, he suddenly finds himself in a capsule, where he is reminded of his mission:  A terrorist planted a bomb on the train.  An experimental program allows him to go back into the last eight minutes of the life of one of the victims before the explosion.  He must keep going back into those last minutes until he discovers who the terrorist is.

That plot would be tense enough, but Source Code is so much more.  This movie is thoroughly science fiction, with concepts beyond the premise of entering the last minutes of a person’s life.  But it also goes deeply into the emotional core of Colter Stevens, showing us a deep internal struggle that tears at him even more than his concern for the mission. 

It’s also a romance.  He keeps returning to the seat opposite of Christina, who knows the man whose body he’s inhabiting on the train.  Although she’s unaware he keeps cycling through these last eight minutes before a bomb goes off, he gets to know her and appreciate her kindness.  Can Colter Stevens go off mission and find some way to save her? 

I advise against reading other reviews, because some of those critics are either too geeky or just don’t get the movie, and they delight in revealing too much.  Suffice it to say that Source Code accomplishes the immensely ticklish task of fusing together science fiction and romance.  Couples will enjoy it. 

Oh, and after the movie, I read for a while in the mall.  So to my surprise, I accomplished all three things to cheer me up after my taxes.   

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