Source Code (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Apr 16, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Source Code (4K UHD Review)

Director

Duncan Jones

Release Date(s)

2011 (May 8, 2018)

Studio(s)

Mark Gordon Company/Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)
  • Film/Program Grade: B+
  • Video Grade: B+
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: C

Source Code (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

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Review

Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Mute), Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens, a U.S. Army pilot who wakes up repeatedly on a passenger train in Chicago, where he keeps reliving the same eight minutes leading up to an explosion that kills everyone aboard. Each time he “dies,” Colter finds himself locked in an experiment called the Source Code, guided by a controller named Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). It seems that it’s his mission to find out who the bomber is on this train, in order to prevent a terrorist attack in the real world. But each time he goes back into the simulation, he meets a woman named Chistina (Michelle Monaghan) and things play out slightly differently. Colter soon begins to think that he can actually change the outcome of the simulation for real.

Source Code has a deliberately repetitive formula, a bit reminiscent of Groundhog Day, but that formula continues to unfold in unexpected ways. It’s also a film that firmly established Jones as a serious directing talent with a unique visual style and a flare for telling stories in this genre. Gyllenhaal gives a terrific and convincing performance in the lead role, and is well supported by Monaghan, Farmiga, and actor Jeffrey Wright as the designer of the Source Code experiment.

Source Code was shot mostly on Super 35 film, with some footage shot digitally in the Redcode RAW codec (4K), using Panavision and Red cameras with spherical lenses. It was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate and it’s been upsampled and given both Dolby Vision and HDR10 color grades for this release. It’s presented here on Ultra HD at the 1.78:1 aspect ratio (1.85 theatrically). Detail is generally very good, not as refined as you’ll see in some titles on this format, but solid with nice texturing and medium levels of grain. Colors are incredibly bold, vibrant, and accurate. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and bright highlights. High Dynamic Range is definitely the highlight of this presentation, whichever HDR format you’re able to access.

Primary audio is included in a new English Dolby Atmos mix that offers fine clarity, smooth panning and atmospherics, and nice immersion. It’s not an especially wide or dynamic mix, as it retains much of the contained and claustraphobic quality of the previous Blu-ray mix, but the Atmos definitely adds something in the height channels to open up the soundfield vertically, especially during the film’s many crash sequences. Bass is firm and delivers a good kick. Additional audio options include Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, with available subtitles in English SDH and Spanish.

The actual 4K Ultra HD disc includes the following extras:

  • Audio commentary with director Duncan Jones, writer Ben Ripley, and actor Jake Gyllenhaal
  • 5 Crazy Details You Might Have Missed (2:01)

That latter is unique to the 4K disc. You also get the original Blu-ray in the package, featuring the film 1080p HD. It includes the same audio commentary along with:

  • Access: Source Code

This is a feature length Picture-in-Picture viewing mode that offers “scene specific” interviews and other behind-the-scenes material as you watch the film. The package also includes a Digital Copy code on a paper insert.

Source Code is a gripping and unexpectedly smart action-thriller, with a fascinating science fiction puzzle at its heart. It’s well worth your time. While Lionsgate’s 4K Ultra HD release isn’t quite up to reference standards for the format, it’s a genuine improvement over the previous Blu-ray. This is certainly the best way to experience the film at home. Recommended.

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

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