Duncan Jones, 2011 (7.9*)
Interesting science fiction film that leans more toward the intellectual and less action style, which is a welcome relief on one aspect. However, as usual, you can’t look too deeply at the so-called science aspect of this one.
Jake Gyllenhaal (hey, figure out a better way to spell that, will ya?) plays a man who suddenly comes to awareness on a commuter train to Chicago, but he seemingly has amnesia. As he’s trying to figure out both his own situation and who the woman is that apprarently is his companion, the train explodes, and he awakens to another reality entirely.
He now emerges in a world similar both to that in The Matrix and 12 Monkeys, even Avatar, where a person in one location experiences a digitally based reality through his brain. In this particular case, Jake plays a real life Captain Colter Stevens, a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, at least in his own memories when they surface - now being used in a top secret experiment in the war on terror. The scientist in control of his world is well acted by Vera Farmiga, but she doesn't have a very demanding part; her character is supposed the be the dispassionate military scientist with only the objective in mind.
This film could have been much better without some useless meandering into pseudo-patriotism that was an unnecessary distraction, and other more sentimental discursions, but it’s still better than most other SF films of 2011 (it was a dismal year for the genre, with dogs like Green Lantern, X-Men First Class, and I Am Number Four).
This film unfortunately reminds one of numerous others, so it’s not very unique. Those who haven’t already should check out 12 Monkeys, Groundhog Day, The Matrix, RunLola Run, Frequency, The Adjustment Bureau, and Sliding Doors (all better than this film) – each of which involves manipulations or alterations of reality in some way.