Search This Blog

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Source Code: A Welcome Distraction

I was so close to not getting out last night, as only one person was really about and up for anything; I almost suggested leaving it and just staying in, but there was something about seeing just a tiny bit of "So You Think You Can Dance" on television that  pushed me out the door.  Aren't we just so excited about yet another cheap reality talent show, posing as great Saturday night entertainment, isn't this just what we're after?  Apparently so.  After all the controversy of rigged public votes, after all the years of boring repetition, after the inevitable sob stories and the oh so obvious scripted reactions, people are still into this shit?

"Why do they let them go on?" my mother asks, watching some idiot after her fifteen minutes of fame but who we all know is absolutely useless, as she struts her stuff like she's pissed at some wedding.  The answer is always the same, and surely at some point people will start waking up to it: It's good TV!  We love laughing at people, we love the cruelty; people have openly admitted the reason they watch the beginning of "The X Factor" is for all the hilariously crap auditions.  People don''t yet realise it's all a setup, a ploy?  We still don't recognise that the show's organisers, the people who pocked the revenue, could very easily prevent any pathetic wannabe getting on if they actually wanted to?  Of course they won't do that; we love watching it too much; we love watching people get so close, and then lose because, in reality, they were awful.  They gave us a month's entertainment though....ok, at the expense of people with genuine talent having to leave, but hey-ho, that's the way it works and if you're still going to put yourself forward for this sort of thing, seriously., you know what to expect, so stop moaning.  It is all a sham and I look forward to the day where we wake up and smell the coffee, demaning some good weekend entertainment on the box again, but until that day....I'm staying well away. 

As I said at the beginning, a friend and I spent time at the cinema, watching something that somebody actually took seriously while making, something far more worth my time.  Duncan Jones is treading a slightly different path to his father, but is proving to have inherited the gene for creativity; I adored his debut "Moon" (see previously on the blog), and though perhaps not quite as good, his follow-up feature "Source Code", is a very enjoyable movie.  To say it is not as good as "Moon" is actually not saying much, considering that it would have taken another materpiece to have stood up to such an unexpectedly brilliant debut (with which pretty much everyone agrees).  "Source Code" is not written by Jones, only directed, and is far more a balls-out thriller, but interestingly it still explores some similar themes and questions as "Moon".  The slightly higher budget has been put to good effect, although Jones is one to prove that big explosions and incredible CGI effects are nothing without a brain, and that good filmmaking is more fundamental than those things; even in today's hi-tech, fast-moving world, a film still needs to do more than look pretty.  Just as with its predecessor, "Source Code" sets you up with ideas you have seen explored elsewhere; where you could find the roots of "Moon" in "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Solaris", "Source Code" has closer kin in the likes of "Speed" and "Inception".  In the case of both movies, though, what marks them out as great is what they then do with those ideas and how much heart they have.  Granted, "Source Code" was not quite as surprising as "Moon", but it still proved to be an intelligent, challenging piece.  Another thing I like about his films is the science of them; they do not skip over explanations, and he works hard to lay what some might consider complex ground work for his audience, ala Nolan.

Despite some small quibbles with the movie, such as the fact Clint Mansell would have scored it better (I mention this  because I know it was only timing and circumstance that prevented Jones working with him again), and the film actually having room for a bit more development in the central location (it is rare for me to say I feel a movie would have benefit from being longer), I still very much enjoyed myself and recommend it as a cinema trip!  Jake Gyllenhaal continues to prove himself to be a terrific lead actor who can carry a film, and if Duncan Jones just keeps doing what he is doing, staying ambitious and not becoming lazy, I see good things ahead for him, and I see myself being a big fan!

"Source Code" - 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment