Mar 28, 2011

Preview Screening of Duncan Jones's Source Code at the Museum of the Moving Image

After briefly touring the Museum of the Moving Image and speaking with curator David Schwartz for class on Thursday, I decided to buy a ticket for one the museum’s events, the preview screening for Duncan Jones’s new film Source Code. The biggest selling point for me was the fact that Duncan Jones was actually going to be there in person for a Q&A after the film. As someone who absolutely loved Moon, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see, and possibly meet, Jones.


The film screening began at 7:30 in the main theater and I anxiously awaited the start of the film as the lights dimmed. Briefly, Source Code is about a solider (Jake Gyllenhaal) that has eight minutes to save the world. Now I don’t want to say too much and spoil the fun because it really is all about how the plot is revealed to us that makes it rather intriguing and exciting to watch. After about an hour and a half later the film was over and I was left with mixed feelings. Although I don’t think it was as visual stunning or unique as Moon, I definitely felt at that time that Source Code had been entertaining. While the film was far more commercial than Moon, I did think that the plot and visual motif was strong enough to make the film worth the $15 admission.


After the screening, Duncan Jones, as promised, came out for the Q&A, with curator David Schwartz acting as moderator. I must admit, hearing him talk was kind of fantastic. It’s easy to see why Jones chose to do this film: he’s quite the sci-fi nerd. I mean this is the man that credits Bladerunner as one of his biggest influences and believes it to be “the greatest sci-fi film ever made.


Unlike Moon, which he penned himself, the script for Source Code was brought to him by Gyllenhaal in the hopes that he’d agree to direct it. Once he was in, it was easy to secure studio backing with Gyllenhaal as the star campaigning for Jones as director. Jones secured a cool budget of $35 million (compared to the $5 million budget for Moon sans studio backing) to helm this project—a paltry sum, really, considering all of the staggering special effects and the big name stars aboard, including Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright and Michelle Monaghan.

As the Q&A progressed Jones explained that he’s a director that likes to give his actors “an environment to do what’s in their head as long as it fits the film” and who “likes the idea of building some reveals”—two facts that are most evident in the film. And even though the film tries to appeal to a broader audience, it doesn’t sacrifice story. Overall, I came out quite satisfied as a whole with the event, especially because it was so limited (there are only 267 seats in the theater) I was able to secure a photo!


I'm quite eager to see what other programming the Museum of the Moving Image has coming up. If it's as great as meeting Duncan Jones, I'll definitely be there.

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