DIRECTOR: Duncan Jones
May Contain Spoilers!
It felt like we were back in the 1970’s with this high concept sci-fi thriller. Duncan Jones had previously given us Moon, which was a hard act to follow but certainly in keeping with style of this film. On one hand it was good, a decent attempt to not only tell a complex story of a man sent back in time to prevent a terrorist act upon a busy commuter train, as well to tie in the style to equally intriguing films of the 1960’s and 70’s.
Jake Gyllinghaal don’t know where he is besides standing in small pod, when he is not being sent into the past to the doomed train, where he is perceived to be one of the dead passengers, and friend to Michelle Monaghan. The plot is driven by the same principles as Groundhog Day, or maybe the lesser known take on this plot device, and also released in 1993, TV movie 12:01.
He has so many minutes to investigate the train before it explodes in an attempt to reveal the source and the perpetrator of the blast. Does this also bear any resemblance to Deja Vu? Granted, the concept is derivative but most Science Fiction is, though that doesn’t make it good or bad, that comes down to its presentation. The first thing I would say about that is that I’m glad that I hadn’t seen Moon first, because there are recurring themes here, particularly regarding Gyllinhaal’s situation.
This was a decent enough sci-fi film, let down mainly by poorly developed characters, something that Moon didn’t suffer from, though the concept and short amount of time for the cast to interact doesn’t help this and the repetitive plot does make it a little dull, rather than boring. But the film is bolstered by asking some interesting existential questions about life as well as time travel and does not, at no point, patronise the audience.
That’s something which should be heralded but in the end, being treated like a grown up just wasn’t enough, I wanted to be see more action, more tension a better performance from Gyllinghaal. It just didn’t quite do it for me as what a plot like this should have. It was basically played too seriously in a way, even though it was very serious subject. But theen we have a happy ending…?