Think of Groundhog Day morphing from comedy to thriller and you’ll get an idea of the mischief afoot in Source Code, the second film (following Moon) from director Duncan Jones and potent enough to make us soon stop ID’ing Jones as David Bowie’s son. A terrific Jake Gyllenhaal powers through the role of Colter Stevens, an Air Force captain recruited by military intelligence (in the persons of Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright) to sit on a Chicago-bound commuter train wired to explode. Sound simple? It isn’t.
Colter is part of a covert experiment. That’s why he doesn’t recognize the hottie (Michelle Monaghan) chatting him up on the train. And that’s why he is forced to continuously relive the last eight minutes pre-explosion until he figures out how to stop another bomb from whacking the Windy City. Got it? Doesn’t matter. Working from a tight script by Ben Ripley, Jones creates scary, hairy, high-octane tension. Disbelief? Suspended, until the logic lapses kick in later. It’s a small price to pay for a ride that starts at wild and accelerates from there.