The premise of soldier Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) re-living the same eight minutes shares similarities with Bill Murray's 1993 classic. Whereas Murray's weatherman Phil makes cheeky alterations to his day to win the heart of Andie MacDowell, Gyllenhaal finds himself falling for Michelle Monaghan's teacher Christina... with the added problem of having to diffuse a bomb.
"There's two people having breakfast and there's a bomb under the table. If it explodes, that's a surprise. But if it doesn't..." Hitchcock is often quoted as saying. The juggling of suspense and surprise makes Source Code thrilling entertainment, as we know time is ticking for Stevens. Chris Bacon's excellent score, coupled with Gyllenhaal's Cary Grant-like attire and the train setting (a Hitchcock staple) also draw a line back to the legendary Vertigo filmmaker.
Shot into a parallel reality by Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright) and Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), Stevens finds himself a guinea pig for the source code's "time-reassignment" (not time travel, as Rutledge makes clear). As his relationship with Christina blossoms, Stevens - living through the body of Sean Fentress - feels a strong desire to stay in the alternate world. Posing existential and philosophical questions, Source Code joins the mind f**k movie club alongside the likes of Mulholland Drive, Donnie Darko, Total Recall and Memento.
Scott Bakula's science fiction show Quantum Leap found popularity in the '80s and '90s as its lead character, Sam Beckett, was transported through time, ending up in a different body each week. His quest to get home mirrors that of Gyllenhaal's soldier, whose last memories were of fighting in Afghanistan. Listen very carefully in Source Code and you might be able to pick out the voice of Bakula...
Duncan Jones's Moon saw Sam Rockwell's stranded lunar astronaut wake up every day to the Chesney Hawkes track 'The One and Only'. The gag worked brilliantly, and it gets a reprise in Source Code through a ringtone (listen out for it in the video below). Jones is such a Chesney fan, he's promised to use it again in his next movie!
Source Code is released on Blu-ray and DVD today. Watch the first five minutes of the movie below: