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Source Code is a 2011 science-fiction action thriller film[4][5] directed by Duncan Jones and written by Ben Ripley. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a U.S. Army captain who is sent into a computed reality to find a bomber. Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright play supporting roles. The film had its world premiere on March 11, 2011 at South by Southwest,[6] and was released by Summit Entertainment on April 1, 2011 in North America and Europe.

Source Code
Source Code Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDuncan Jones
Produced by
Written byBen Ripley
Music byChris Bacon
CinematographyDon Burgess
Edited byPaul Hirsch
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release date
  • March 11, 2011 (2011-03-11) (SXSW)
  • April 1, 2011 (2011-04-01) (United States)
  • April 20, 2011 (2011-04-20) (France)
Running time
93 minutes
Budget$31.9 million[2]
Box office$147.3 million[3]

The film received favorable reviews from critics and became a box office success, grossing over $147.3 million worldwide.[3][7]



U.S. Army pilot Captain Colter Stevens wakes up on a Metra[8] commuter train headed to Chicago. Stevens is disoriented, his last memory was flying on a mission in Afghanistan. However, to the world around him – including his friend Christina Warren and his reflections in the passenger window and in the restroom mirror – he appears to be Sean Fentress, a school teacher. As he expresses his confusion to Christina, the train explodes, killing everyone aboard.

Stevens wakes up inside a dimly lit cockpit. Communicating through a video screen, Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin verifies Stevens' identity and tells him of his mission to find the train bomber before sending him back to the beginning. Believing he is being tested in a simulation, Stevens finds the bomb, but is unable to identify the bomber before the train explodes again.

Stevens reawakens in his capsule and, after demanding to be briefed, learns that the train explosion actually happened, and that it was the first attack of a series. He is sent back again, eight minutes before the explosion, to identify the bomber. This time, he disembarks the train (with Christina) to follow a suspect. However, he falls on the tracks and is killed by a freight train.

The capsule power supply malfunctions as Stevens reawakens. He claims to have saved Christina, but Dr. Rutledge tells him she was saved only inside the "Source Code." Rutledge briefly explains to Stevens what "Source Code" is: an experimental machine that reconstructs the past using the dead passengers' residual collective memories of eight minutes before their deaths. Therefore, the only thing that matters is finding the bomber to prevent the second attack.

On his next run, Stevens learns he was reported as killed in action two months ago. He confronts Goodwin, who reveals he is missing most of his body, and on life support while hooked up to neural sensors. The capsule and his healthy body are "manifestations" made by his mind to make sense of the environment. Angry at his forced imprisonment, Stevens asks to be terminated after the mission and Rutledge accepts.

After numerous attempts, Stevens identifies the bomber, an anarchist named Derek Frost. Stevens memorizes Frost’s license and vehicle registration plates. However, he is unable to stop the train explosion. Outside Source Code, he relays his knowledge to Goodwin, which helps the police arrest Frost and preventing the second attack. Stevens is congratulated for completing his mission. Rutledge secretly reneges on his deal to let Stevens die, as he is the only candidate that can enter Source Code at the moment.

Sympathetic to his plight, Goodwin sends Stevens back one last time and promises to disconnect his life support after eight minutes. This time, he sets a date with Christina, defuses the bomb, handcuffs Frost and reports him to the police. He calls his father under the guise of a fellow soldier and reconciles with him, and send Goodwin a message. After eight minutes, Goodwin terminates Stevens' life support.

As the world around him progresses beyond eight minutes, Stevens confirms his suspicion that Source Code is not a simulation, but a gateway to alternate realities. He and Christina leave the train and go on a date. In the same reality, Goodwin receives Stevens' message. He tells her of Source Code's true capability and asks her to help the alternate-reality version of him.




David Hahn, the boy depicted in the 2003 made-for-television documentary The Nuclear Boy Scout, was the inspiration for the antagonist Derek Frost.[9] In an article published by the Writers Guild of America, screenwriter Ben Ripley is described as providing the original pitch to the studios responsible for producing Source Code,[10]

Ripley first came up with the idea for Source Code, in which government operative Colter Stevens repeatedly relives the eight minutes leading up to a terrorist train bombing in hopes of finding the bomber, he had no intention of writing it on spec. Having established himself in Hollywood largely doing "studio rewrites on horror movies," he felt a solid pitch would do the trick. Unfortunately, it didn't. "I sat down with a few producers, and the first couple just looked at me like I was nuts," confesses Ripley. "Ultimately, I had to put it on the page to make my case."

After seeing Moon, Gyllenhaal lobbied for Jones to direct Source Code; Jones liked the fast-paced script; as he later said: "There were all sorts of challenges and puzzles and I kind of like solving puzzles, so it was kind of fun for me to work out how to achieve all these difficult things that were set up in the script."[11]

In the ending scene, Jake Gyllenhaal's and Michelle Monaghan's characters are seen walking through Millennium Park, and make their way to the Cloud Gate. In a 2011 interview, Gyllenhaal discussed how director Duncan Jones felt the structure was a metaphor for the movie's subject matter, and aimed for it to feature at the beginning and end of the movie.[12]


Principal photography began on March 1, 2010, in Montreal, Quebec, and ended on April 29, 2010.[13] Several scenes were shot in Chicago, Illinois, specifically at Millennium Park and the Main Building at the Illinois Institute of Technology, although the sign showing the name of the latter, in the intersection of 31st Street and S LaSalle Street, was edited out.

Initially, some filming was scheduled at the Ottawa Train Station in Ottawa, Ontario,[14] but was cancelled for lack of an agreement with VIA Rail.[15]


Editing took place in Los Angeles. In July 2010, the film was in the visual effects stage of post-production.[16] Most of the VFX work was handled by Montreal studios, including Modus FX, Rodeo FX, Oblique FX, and Fly Studio.[17] Jones had confirmed that the film's soundtrack would be composed by Clint Mansell, in his second collaboration with the composer.[18] However, it was later announced that Mansell would no longer score the soundtrack due to time constraints.[19]


Theatrical releaseEdit

The film received its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 11, 2011.[20] Summit Entertainment released the film to theaters in the United States and Canada on April 1, 2011. In France, the film was released on April 20, 2011.[21]

Home mediaEdit

Source Code was released on DVD and Blu-ray simultaneously in the United States on July 26, 2011,[22][23] with the United Kingdom release on DVD and Blu-ray (as well as a combined DVD/Blu-ray package) on August 15, 2011.[24] In the UK, there was also a Blu-ray/DVD "Double Play" release featuring a lenticular slipcover.


Box officeEdit

Source Code was released in theaters on April 1, 2011. In the United States and Canada, Source Code was released theatrically in 2,961 conventional theaters.[25] The film grossed $54,712,227 during its run with midnight screenings in 2,961 locations.[26] Overall the film made $14,812,094 and debuted at #2 on its opening weekend.[25]

Critical responseEdit

Source Code received acclaim from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 91% approval rating, based on an aggregation of 247 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "Finding the human story amidst the action, director Duncan Jones and charming Jake Gyllenhaal craft a smart, satisfying sci-fi thriller."[7] Metacritic awarded the film an average score of 74/100, based on 41 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[27]

Critics have compared Source Code with both the 1993 film Groundhog Day,[28][29][30] and British film director Tony Scott's 2006 time-altering science fiction film Déjà Vu: in the latter case, the similarity of plotline in the protagonist's determination to change the past was highlighted, and his emotional commitment to save the victim, rather than simply try to discover the identity of the perpetrator of the crime.[31] Alternatively, it has been described as a "cross between Groundhog Day and Murder on the Orient Express,"[32] while The Arizona Republic film critic Bill Goodykoontz says that comparing Source Code to Groundhog Day is doing a disservice to Source Code's enthralling "mind game."[33]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film, "Confounding, exhilarating, challenging – and the best movie I've seen so far in 2011."[7] Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, calling it "an ingenious thriller" where "you forgive the preposterous because it takes you to the perplexing."[34] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called Ben Ripley's script "cleverly constructed" and a film "crisply directed by Duncan Jones." He also praised the "cast with the determination and ability to really sell its story."[35] CNN called Ripley's script "ingenious" and the film "as authoritative an exercise in fractured storytelling as Christopher Nolan's Memento." He also commented that Gyllenhaal is "more compelling here than he's been in a long time."[32]


Year Group Category Recipient(s) Result
2011 Scream Awards[36] Best Science Fiction Actor Jake Gyllenhaal Nominated
Bradbury Award[37] Bradbury Award Ben Ripley and Duncan Jones Nominated
2012 Hugo Award[38] Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards[39] Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture Annie Godin, Louis Morin Nominated

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Source Code". British Film Institute. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (March 31, 2011). "Movie Projector: "Hop" will jump over rivals this weekend". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Source Code (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "Source Code (2011) - Duncan Jones". AllMovie.
  5. ^ "SOURCE CODE". British Board of Film Classification.
  6. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (December 16, 2010). "'Moon' Director Duncan Jones Returns to SXSW With 'Source Code'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c "Source Code (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  8. ^ Wronski, Richard (March 9, 2011). "Compared to Metra train's movie fate, delays look tame". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  9. ^ "Duncan Jones tells us what really happened at the end of Source Code". io9. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
  10. ^ "Practice Makes Perfect". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  11. ^ Powers, Lindsay; Messina, Kim (April 1, 2010). "How Jake Gyllenhaal Wooed Duncan Jones to Direct 'Source Code'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  12. ^ Richards, Dean (April 1, 2011). "Gyllenhaal says the 'Bean' could be metaphor for 'Source Code'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  13. ^ "Source Code Filming Completes Today". ManMadeMovies. April 29, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  14. ^ "Source Code filming in Ottawa's train station". Weirdland. January 13, 2010.
  15. ^ "Entertainment". Ottawa Sun. March 17, 2010.
  16. ^ "Exclusive: Duncan Jones on MOON, Source Code & Judge Dredd". ManMadeMovies. July 28, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "Source Code – Company Credits". Internet Movie Database.
  18. ^ Warmoth, Brian (September 21, 2010). "'Source Code' Bringing Duncan Jones And Clint Mansell Back Together". MTV. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  19. ^ "Duncan Jones". Twitter. December 15, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  20. ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (December 16, 2010). "'Moon' Director Duncan Jones Returns to SXSW With 'Source Code'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  21. ^ "Source Code". AlloCiné. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  22. ^ "Source Code Blu-ray (2011)". Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "Source Code". Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  24. ^ "Source Code Film & TV". Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  25. ^ a b "Weekend Box Office Results for April 1-3, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  26. ^ "Source Code (2011) – Daily Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  27. ^ "Source Code Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  28. ^ "'Source Code': A 'Groundhog Day' With Scientific Mumbo-Jumbo". TheWrap. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  29. ^ "'Source Code' is a disaster 'Groundhog Day' with twists". Sign On San Diego. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  30. ^ "Peter Travers: 'Source Code' is Confusing But Exciting". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  31. ^ Holmes, Brent (April 6, 2011). "Source Code feels a lot like Deja Vu". Western Gazette. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  32. ^ a b Charity, Tom (April 1, 2011). "'Source Code' a smart, original sci-fi thriller". CNN. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  33. ^ "Arizona Republic: "Movies: 'Source Code' 4 Stars". AZ Central. March 30, 2011.
  34. ^ "Review: Source Code". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  35. ^ Turan, Kenneth (April 1, 2011). "Movie review: 'Source Code'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  36. ^ Murray, Rebecca. "2011 SCREAM Awards List of Nominees". Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  37. ^ "2011 Nebula Awards Nominees Announced". A SFWA. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  38. ^ "Hugo Nominees 2012". A SFWA. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  39. ^ "10th Annual VES Awards". visual effects society. Retrieved December 31, 2017.

External linksEdit