This sci-fi thriller has a wholly different approach to time travel – a sci-fi warhorse that has seen better days. When Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) snaps awake, he finds himself in his civvies, having dozed on a commuter train that turns out to be Chicago bound. Last he can recall he was on a mission in Afghanistan. He’s sitting across from someone named Christina (Michelle Monaghan), who seems to know him. He’s never seen her before. Disoriented, he runs to the rest room and when he looks in the mirror, it’s not him. In a few moments, the train and all its occupants will be blown apart. In time, all things will be revealed.
What’s revealed in a series of repeat scenes is the fact that he’s on some sort of mission to find and stop a terrorist. His handler is a military Captain (Vera Farmiga) who is not forthcoming with any additional information, urging him to just follow instructions (as given through some sort of video feed). He finds himself waking up on the train again, which in exactly eight minutes will blow up one more time. And again. And again. I’ll resist the Groundhog Day references. THe eight minutes is explained. Each time though he applies the knowledge gained from the last exercise until….Oh, but you need to see the movie.
I quite liked it, nearly as much as I liked Director Duncan Jones’ Moon (1999) – one of the best films of that year. If you like your sci-fi with a slightly different focus than is usual, you can’t go wrong here.