'Source Code" doesn't die at third act - Gyllenhaal is the glue

Duncan Jones and Jake Gyllenhaal attending 'Source Code' Panel at The SXSW Festival on 12th March, 2011 in Austin, TX

"Duncan Jones, in his sophomore effort, has crafted the best film of 2011 thus far, and though that doesn’t sound like much of a stretch, the bar has been set incredibly high. In defense of my praise, this movie lands perfectly in my strike zone as a moviegoer and a filmmaker. With a sci-fi premise, cerebral and sophisticated mysteries that are handled with confidence and skill, an ever-accelerating plot with an adrenaline-fueled rush allows Source Code to do the near impossible by leaving you satisfied when the credits roll. Where counterparts like The Box and Adjustment Bureau faltered, Jones sticks the landing, something increasingly difficult as audiences become more tech and plot savvy. You can only build up your big reveal so much before the revelations start feeling like thinly veiled misdirection. Source Code sidesteps third act deflation by making the whole exercise feel like part of a much larger whole. It’s unexpected in a Hollywood film, and makes the viewing that much more memorable.
Gyllenhaal is the glue that holds the film together, as well as the audience’s main source of empathy and pathos. Without a strong showing from him, no amount of special effects wizardry or extraordinary surprises would have kept the narrative afloat. Given such a high level of expectation, he succeeds across the board, giving his most dynamic and nuanced performance to date. He makes everyone else better, and even the scenes where he’s playing off a computer screen have a lot of emotional charge. Michelle Monaghan continues to put in strong performances, believably connecting to Gyllenhaal, even if only for ten minutes at a time. Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright are terrific, as expected, and give the government a voice worth listening to throughout. It’s only when you discover the full extent of their involvement that you appreciate the subtleties in earlier lines. From an editing and special effects standpoint, the movie is top notch. The pace is quick, yet also slows appropriately before launching back into full throttle. The budget, though small for this type of film, has been pushed to the limits here, delivering on all the eye-catching moments you’ve come to expect from your popcorn entertainment. The surprise will be the way the film conveys larger ideas and themes within constraints set upon it, and how it uses its few locations to give you a sense of a much larger world. The stakes are very real, without us ever actually getting out to see them, and the story makes that acceptable. You’re ultimately satisfied with the choices that were made, and which is an achievement I find hard not to keep reiterating. Third acts are where potentially great thrillers go to die, and Source Code is the rare anomaly that doesn’t back down". Source: www.climbinghigherpictures.com