'Source code' happily 'out there’

Jake Gyllenhaal is no stranger to working with mad scientists — or at least mad science. A decade ago he played schizophrenic teen Donnie Darko in Richard Kelly’s memorably offbeat feature about wormholes, time travel, a diabolical rabbit and an impending apocalypse.

Now Gyllenhaal, 30, is back on semi-familiar ground, playing an Air Force colonel badly wounded in the Middle East but kept alive as the guinea pig in a top-secret government experiment.

Opening Friday, the movie is “Source Code,” the second offering (after 2009’s “Moon”) from sci-fi surrealist Duncan Jones.

As in “Darko,” the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and writer-producer Naomi Foner (“Losing Isaiah”) is once again navigating alternate realities, this time to gather information crucial to preventing a terrorist attack.

It’s the kind of story that keeps you guessing, not only about what’s going to happen, but whether what has already happened follows the movie’s own rules. You’re not alone.

“First, I needed to know that the science was at least conceptually logical,” Gyllenhaal says of “Code.” “The ideas had to make sense enough that I bought it, ‘cause movies like this sometimes veer off in an absurdist way. But the story is solid scientifically, even as it raises interesting questions on a philosophical level.”

Impressed by “Moon,” Gyllenhaal saw Jones, 39, the son of rock legend David Bowie, as a “cosmic” fit to direct.
Did he consider Kelly? “I thought Duncan might not do it, because he writes the things he wants to direct, and Richard is the same way,” he says. “But Duncan kept coming up to me saying, ‘Make it weirder.’ Maybe Richard’s stuff is already too inherently weird.”

Gyllenhaal credits Jones with being open to suggestions, to the extent that he shot an alternate ending Jake proposed on a whim.

The actor, who describes himself as being “a little out there,” says he’s passionate about the story, in which his character is repeatedly thrust into catastrophic scenarios, with only minutes to stave off disaster.

Can he imagine himself in the same situation? “It’s wishful thinking, but if I had only a minute to live, I think I’d call my family and try to have a good laugh. It’s nice to laugh entering and nice to laugh exiting.”



Source Code

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Jeffrey Wright

Written by Ben Ripley

Directed by Duncan Jones

Rated PG 13

Running time 1 hour 33 minutes


If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A San Francisco Unified School District program that gave would-be teachers extra training in the classroom has lost a key partner. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/2019 S.F. Examiner)</ins>
USF ends partnership with SFUSD in teacher residency program

District launched training effort to improve low retention rates for new hires

The Rev. Norman Fong of the Chinatown Community Development Center joined San Francisco city leaders and community partners in a “Campaign for Solidarity” at Civic Center Plaza on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021. (CraigLee/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
City launches ‘Campaign for Solidarity’ to combat racial violence

Mayor London Breed, the city’s Human Rights Commission and community leaders launched… Continue reading

It’s time to break the code of silence and end the stigmatism against infertility, which is fairly common. <ins>(Shuttterstock)</ins>
Struggles with infertility are common

We all can support friends, ask legislators to mandate sppropriate insurance

Foxes, aka Louisa Rose Allen, says she taken back control of her music in recent years. <ins>(Courtesy Hollie Fernando)</ins>
Foxes back with ‘Friends in the Corner’

Pop star doing a lot ‘behind the scene’ since 2016

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Most Read