Before I get into the details of Duncan Jones’ sophomore opus, Source Code, I must relate to you the circumstances in which the movie was experienced.
*It all started yesterday afternoon, as I was sitting on a bench outside the Austin Convention Center, soaking up some sun before the madness began. There were canvassers walking around, handing out some nifty Source Code hats and t-shirts, which we may have available for you here.
I tweeted out a picture and next thing I knew, I was getting special access to the pre-premiere media party, hosted by Nokia and Summit Entertainment. There I got to meet Jones and his spectacular and incredibly artistic girlfriend Rodene Ronquillo and both were incredibly friendly and welcoming. I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to have met them.
Leaving the party, I donned my Selk’Bag (from Moon infamy) and entered the premiere to curious looks and many a picture from the odd filmgoer.
Not wanting to miss the film, I first made my way to the loo. Upon stepping up to the urinal I had a conversation that went something like this:
Man (with British accent): This isn’t a conversation that I usually have at a urinal but wow, I can’t believe you’re wearing a Selk’Bag! Nice.
Me: I can’t believe that you know what it is.
Man: I should, I produced Moon.
Me: Well then, I’m going to wash my hands and then shake yours.
Stuart Fenegan: (Laughs).
Random Other Guy: (Laughs).
Me: And there’s that awkward silence. *
So needless to say, it was a fun, light environment in the sold out Paramount Theatre when the film got rolling, even after Jones called me out in the audience as being from Lunar Industries. Having screened Moon in Austin a few years back, Jones seemed to have developed quite a fan following, as the opening credit cheers reached its pinnacle during his name.
As for the film itself, it’s safe to say that Jones continues to establish his dominance as an auteur in an industry that can so easily be degraded into merely a play for profits. Having been given a more studio equivalent budget, Jones knows how to make the money and the talent work for him.
Brought on the project by Gyllenhaal, the two have quickly developed a rapport that will likely spill into cinema in the future and Jones had no problem getting the fantastic actor to open himself up to such a quirky and yet complex character. Gyllenhaal is quickly working his way into the supreme echelon of acting and certainly breathes refreshing life into a film that could be easily, and unfairly, categorized as another action film – which it certainly is not.
Bolstered by fantastic acting from Vera Farmiga, Michelle Monaghan, and Jeffrey Wright, the film itself is tense, claustrophobic, emotional, and based upon the inherent fear and anxiety that many Americans in urban areas have been experiencing in a post 9/11 landscape. Terrorism is the premise behind the story, but it is merely one of a few well executed plot lines, which proves Jones’ growth as a director.
While Moon was largely focused around a single plot line and it’s progression, Source Code expertly intertwines multiple threads, bringing them all to a head without missing a beat. Jones uses close-ups and tight angles to exacerbate the tension of the film while simultaneously infusing a plethora of humor to defuse and yet enhance the drama of the situation.
Creating an excellent Sci-Fi film that can appease both mainstream audiences and technological and quantum mechanics enthusiasts alike is a feat in itself, and Source Code proves that Jones’ filmmaking prowess, knack for telling beautiful stories, and eye for working a budget will firmly establish Jones amongst the must see directors in the medium today.
The man has longevity in film and will soon be bankable as an excellent media push by Summit Entertainment, including an interactive game, will have people flocking to see this superb movie. Where Sony failed with Moon, Summit will succeed with Source Code and I fully expect to see the name Duncan Jones attached to many a film in the near future.
Certainly get yourself to a cinema when Source Code hits and support an excellent film and a soon-to-be prolific director. The more money this endeavor makes, the more work Jones will get. We all want to see Mute become a reality and we all need to help to make it happen.