Saturday, April 30, 2011

Source Code

When I read the synopsis of Source Code, the following movies came to my mind:

1. The Matrix

2. Inception

3. Paycheck

It seemed intellectually stimulating and was a must watch. Hence time, distance and sleep were fought to catch this flick.
The start as expected is confusing and the audience is as lost as Capt. Cotler Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the initial minutes. In some time Dr. Rutledge: the father of the program tries to explain the Source Code program using words like metaphysics, time-reassignment (not time travel), quantum brain dynamics, etc. (check out wiki: He gives a window of eight minutes to Stevens to transfer his consciousness to a traveller on a train that hosted an explosion earlier that day. Stevens discovers that though his body is just fine in the Source Code, in reality he has lost track of time and his memory and body is failing.

Before being sent in, Stevens is repeatedly reminded that he can only obtain information from the source code and there is little that he can do to change the reality. With several attempts, the objective is attained and the movie seems to wind up with the traditional ‘save the world’ theme. However, the real discussion starts after that: it’s up to you how you interpret the last 15 minutes. (Warning: a li'l teaser coming up)
Capt. Cotler Stevens manages to convince Capt. Goodwin to allow him to go into the source code one last time. Wait let’s document it first.
The body (of Stevens) is in the incubation centre in a comatose state while his mind or conscious is now in the Source Code.

Now he manages to change the series of events in the Source Code altering the consequences. As his time is about to be up, he sends a text to Goodwin describing how he managed to change the happenings in this world. As the eight minutes are up, Goodwin pulls out the plug from Steven’s life support system in the real world. Surprisingly, Stevens continues to exist in the source code in the body of the teacher. It’s the time to put your grey cells to use. One aspect is accepted: This is a parallel universe where proceedings are independent of the one of the original one. The debatable point is that the SMS received by Coleen in the new reality (the Coleen of the Source Code) interprets it perfectly. The concern arises when the semi-dead self of Stevens appears as she reads the text and is convinced that the Source Code works.. Are there two conscious states of Stevens existing in this alternate reality tangent? Or the conscious of the comatose Steven’s will come up only when Source Code is initiated in this Source Code world (think nested loops)?
Moreover, can someone please explain whatever happened to the teacher? He seems to be a goner in both ways. In the world 1, he is already dead. In the world 2 (inside Source Code of world 1) Stevens’ conscious has taken over his body.. What happened??

I’d enjoy discussions on this as much as I had enjoyed it with Inception..


  1. I think the writer believes in the concept of a soul that persists even after death. When Goodwin pulls the plug, for a moment everything freezes because Captain Stevens' soul is transitioning from the physical body to some higher form of consciousness. Once the transition is done, the soul returns to its previous state of consciousness (the girl in the train NOT his body in the lab, because he was not consciously aware of that when he died, he was aware of his existence in the source code only so that snapshot continued) and Captain Stevens continues to "live" in that dream. How he does this is not explained, because we don't know exactly where the soul goes after death. But that alternate reality in which Captain Stevens consciousness survives (in Sean's body) and Goodwin receives the SMS, is just the enduring consciousness of Captain Steven's soul even after it has left his body.

    In our real world, Sean is dead for sure, Captain Stevens' body is now lifeless and his soul has passed on to some higher level (where the alternate reality is being lived).

    I'm sure there are flaws in my theory, but that's how I interpreted it. What do you think?

  2. In the movie, everything happening on the train is happening inside the Source Code BUT ONLY until the time freezes. After the time unfreezes, what we see is not happening in the Source code at all. The last snapshot of his consciousness (from Source Code) endures, but this is now happening somewhere else. It is happening in wherever his soul has now moved on to.

  3. Impressive Bugga! That time stop thing might just justify what u r saying.. Open ending 4 sure..
    Will need some time to soak that in; am still too drunk on my theory of alternate reality ;)

    Will think and get back.. Meanwhile, lets pray that Gogo sees the movie..

  4. Dammit.. My first post got erased by some weird blogger error.. In any case am attempting to recreate my theories.

  5. I like both the theories posted.

    Shubhams theory is strengthened by the fact that from the beginning of the movie Goodwin is a little uncomfortable while dealing with Steven and actually readily agrees to help him at a great personal cost, this seems to indicate that even in the timline we are shown goodwin has actually already recieved the SMS from Steven. Circles within circles indeed...
    The only problem seems to be that in the new reality in the end there are 2 conciousnesses of Steven and if this is not the first fork there may be multiple conciousnesses of steven for each disaster that the source code was used to inspect and will continue to increase until the reality where the source code project is shut down due to lack of suitable disasters to use it on!!

    Buggas theory is really interesting and is strengthened by the argument that if Steven can project the original cell to make sense of things. Why not project a whole world when he gains a greater understanding of what he is doing. Maybe his exposure to the quantum state of the mind gave him the ability to harness our collective conciousness to create his own world even after death.

  6. The other theory could be that from the very beginning of the movie Steven is actually dead.
    The main themes of the movie are reconciliation love and acceptance.
    By the end of the movie Steven reconciles with his father. Becomes a hero by saving all those people. Finds true love and after the time stop goes on to live in a perfect world with perfect blue skies. Nirvana anyone?
    Maybe it is a test all of us have to pass to find acceptance of death.

    But then again its truly an open ending..

  7. Whoa.. Now it gets complicated. I was sane until Gogo said "(Multiple consciousness within the S. Code)will continue to increase until the reality where the source code project is shut down due to lack of suitable disasters to use it on!!"