The less you know about the plot, the more pleasurable the experience. Without spoiling anything, however, its Escher loop of a story plops Jake Gyllenhaal's Everyman character aboard a commuter train, where his government mission is to give him eight minutes to find a bomb that then will explode. If he can, they can find the responsible terrorist and, therefore, prevent a dirty-bomb attack on the whole of Chicago.
And if he can't, he gets eight minutes to do it all over again.
"Wait, what?" you ask. Needless to say, "Source Code" operates on a storytelling level infused with sci-fi elements; relax, all will be explained.
As with a majority of films of this type, the explanation may not live up to your expectations, but the journey remains well worth taking, wherever the destination. In his mere second feature, Jones already seems to have an assured hand with material that would fall apart in even more experienced filmmakers' hands, and he obviously relishes the jump in budget over the minuscule-funded "Moon."
Gyllenhaal hereby is forgiven for the sins of selling out in last summer's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," as he holds our attention in a story in which he's as eager as we are to learn its voluminous tricks. It's his show, too; terrific talents like Michelle Monaghan ("Due Date"), Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air") and Jeffrey Wright ("Quantum of Solace") may get some screen time, but no opportunity to use it to act. Like everyone else onboard, they're here to support, not steal the spotlight. Rod Lott