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April 2011

Stranger on an Unstoppable Train

Source Code (2011)

Jonathan Wenk/
Summit Entertainment

As the biological son of Ziggy Stardust, Duncan Jones has science fiction in his DNA. That God-given gift, when combined with the young Zowie Bowie’s grooming on movies such as “Solaris” and “Blade Runner,” might not have guaranteed that he’d become one of the genre’s premiere cinematic purveyors; but if you had to make a futures bet in the ’80s, well, you could have done a lot worse.

“Source Code,” his sophomore effort, is a safer, more streamlined venture than his ambitious debut “Moon,” a one-man show starring Sam Rockwell. Still, the filmmaker derives grand twisty pleasures out of the “Groundhog Day”-on-a-train premise, with the film’s smart contemporary allusions, its protagonist’s stark emotional journey and a Hitchcockian aptitude for creatively maximizing the potential of a constrained setting.

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