By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
Two films come to mind when watching Source Code, the pleasantly unpredictable new thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal (October Sky, The Day After Tomorrow) and Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible 3). The first is the father/son murder mystery Frequency and the second is the Denzel Washington thriller Deja Vu. If you enjoyed those films, you'll have a blast here. All three films use time-bending science fiction as a plot device for heroes trying to avert tragedy. More importantly, all three films recognize that an audience's emotional connection to the characters is necessary for fantastical premises to work.
Gyllenhaal is much better suited to the type of everyman hero he plays here than the muscle-bound warrior he portrayed in Prince of Persia, while Monaghan finds humanity and likability in what could have become a one-dimensional character. The payoff has some mildly disturbing implications that aren't fully explored and, as always with this type of movie, one has to suspend disbelief and accept the half-baked scientific hokum as presented. If you can do that, you're in for the year's first great offering of popcorn escapism. Source Code never bores and is a welcome surprise.
CONTENT ADVISORY: Source Code is rated PG-13. There is no sexuality or nudity. There is some violence in the form of punching and bloodless shootings, as well as disturbing images involving dead bodies. The film contains a handful of moderate profanities as well as one f-word and a crude joke.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Our destinies are determined by the choices we make. Life is precious, with every moment to be treasured.
For another fantastic time-bending thriller, don't miss Frequency!
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.