Just Read: Source Code

Source Code

by Ben Ripley

Draft Dated: Undated

Remember that everything I write is my personal opinion, and is (usually) based on an early draft; the plot, characters, and practically anything and everything in this draft could be changed, or will change, before the movie comes out.

Colter wakes up on a train. He has no idea who he is, or what he’s doing. He starts to freak out.  For 17 minutes, he observes his surroundings until… BOOM!  A bomb explodes, killing everyone on board. The next thing we know, Colter wakes up in an isolation unit, in some sort of government lab. Oh snap! He is part of some strange experiment. Before he can figure out what the hell is going on — BAM!  He is back on the train. Only this time, he has 17 minutes to figure out who the bomber is. He tries to gather his senses. There is a girl sitting next to him. What does she know? What about that suspicious looking guy? Is it him? 17 minutes later — BOOM! The train explodes again, and Colter gets to start all over.

I absolutely loved this script when I first read it. Sometimes I’ll read a script, even a good script, and I’ll have to set it down for a little while. Not this time. I did not set this script down ONCE. The entire script reads extremely fast. The writer is very talented. His words feed the senses. I felt as if I was actually there, in the train with Colter, as he first takes in his surroundings.  Every detail, every sensory impression overload, I was there.

One of the reasons this script reads so fast, is because there is so much we want to know. Right from page one, we want to know what the hell is going on. Who is this guy? Why is he on a train? Why is he in a government lab? Who bombed the train? How and why is this all happening? There are a lot of questions in this story, and the fact that we NEED these questions answered, makes the pages turn as fast as possible.

We’ve definitely seen this basic, back to the beginning “time travel” type movie before. Groundhog Day, Deja Vu, Vantage Point. But this story works way better, I believe. I thought Vantage Point was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The reason this story works better, is because there are constantly new questions arising, and there is more than one mystery to be solved. We need to figure out what is happening on the train, but we also need to figure out what the hell this whole lab is about, and how Colter got there in the first place. With all of these questions to answer, we are constantly moving the story forward. We don’t find ourselves in the completely fucking horrible stagnation that was Vantage Point. While watching Vantage Point, I wanted to rip my eyes out every time we reversed back to the beginning. In Source Code, you actually WANT to go back onto the train. You WANT to know what is going on.

I wrote an article on the “10-Page-Twist” a while back. I would like you to notice in this script, at the bottom of page 10, we find the bomb for the first time. BOOM baby! The “10-Page-Twist” in action.

Due to MAJOR SPOILERS I am putting the rest of the review after the jump. But to start off, I’ll break down the good, and the bad.

The Good

  • The script is extremely well written. I feel like I am actually there with the character.
  • The story is fast paced, and keeps you guessing. You’re always moving forward.
  • I really enjoyed the ending. It puts a nice twist on things.
  • Great use of the “10-Page-Twist” and completely snagging our attention, early on.

The Bad

  • There are a few story holes that have to do with the time travel and parallel universes.

The Verdict

Definitely read this script. Even if the movie ends up sucking balls when it comes out (and I hope it doesn’t), this script will still be in my top 10. As I said before, I cannot share scripts on this site out of fear of being sued, but if you place your email in the comments section, there is really nothing I can do if another reader decides to send it to you.


So basically, in the script we find out that Colter has been dead for months. Due to the specific nature of his accident, he has been chosen to be hooked up to a machine, and to have his consciousness digitally stored for use in the “Source Code Project”. The train explodes in a terrorist attack. An experimental government team, has been able to take the brain of a deceased man, from the bombed train, and digitally link it to Colter. In doing this, they can send him back in time to figure out who bombed the train. Due to the law of “never being able to undue the past”, Colter wakes up as the man on the train, but he is in an unchangeable parallel-type universe. Every time he goes back onto the train, he is going into a reproduced universe, from the past. What happens to the previous universe once he leaves, we don’t know. I know this all sounds weird, but it makes total sense in the screenplay.

There is something called a “bleed-through” which happens at one point in the movie. Colter is able to call the government lab from the train, and convinces one of the lab workers to feed him information. Later on, we learn that the call Colter made in the parallel universe has “bled-through” to the current universe, and that the lab worker actually gets the call from the future. This leads to the lab worker helping Colter out at the end. I completely understand if you’re not following me, but trust me, it makes sense in the script.

In the end, Colter figures out who bombed the train, and the “Source Code Project” is a success. The antagonist working for the government can now just shut Colter down for later use. Colter will forget everything that happened. The lab worker, that Colter called from the parallel universe while on the train, decides he is going to help Colter out.  He gives Colter one last chance to talk to the girl on the train. Colter goes back to the train, and as his last act, decides he is going to stop the bomb from exploding. He doesn’t want to see the girl die again. So, Colter stops the bomb from exploding, and gets the terrorist arrested. In the meantime, the lab worker runs down to Colter’s hooked up body, and disconnects him. Colter looks at his watch, and counts down his final minutes. 3…2…1…0… But wait, nothing happens! Colter is now living in the parallel universe, and can get the girl and live a happy life. He’s free!

I love this ending. But if you ask some questions, the story has some weird holes. If there was a “bleed-through” with that one phone call, why couldn’t he just make a call from the train, and stop the bomb from ever going off in the original universe? The other weird thing was – at the end, his consciousness is now in the other (originally dead) guy’s body from the train. What happened to that guy???  Did he just get on the train, and then… poof! Now he’s Colter forever? It’s very weird, and I hope it gets addressed in the final production. This movie comes out soon, and I can’t wait to see it.

What did you think of this script? Will it turn into a good movie? Are you excited? You can discuss more about the movie here.

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