Source Code Discussion

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Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 11 Apr 2011

Certainly sci-fi films require a certain amount of 'suspension of disbelief.' Say that we're told there is a parallel reality, I'm there. Say that a large ship can travel the speed of light, no problem. Say that the ship is going the speed of light in the WRONG direction ... big problem. And that's my problem with Source Code, an initially interesting premise that breaks down as utter stupidity.

How does Goodwin buy into this nonsense of this 8 minutes of dying man's (Sean) thoughts? Not going into the thoughts themselves but ... how does that premise move forward to actually finding the bomb? So what ... getting into Sean's dead or dying mind gets Colter moving things forward past what Sean knows about or dreams about (post-death)? No, no you say, that post-death thoughts only gave Colter access to the train and Colter's mind takes over from that? To what exactly? To go back in time? To a construct (post-death) that Sean can't create? Well, just while we're kidding ourselves let's say yes. So what part of a parallel reality aren't we already into and why wouldn't anybody over a fifth grader realize this?

Playing devil's advocate to my own idea, let's say Dr. Rutledge KNEW about the parallel reality and the 8 minutes scenario thingy is there so that BOTH the patient and his underlings stay thick as as brick? That would certainly support why he immediately kills all discussion about what Colter tries to share with him. After all, if that's not part of the story, then how did he come up with the 8 minute scenario? Pure stupidity from someone smart enough to get someone's mind into a parallel dimension? Please. That leaves the question as to why he would treat his own people that way and why anybody would be that gullible which is my BIG problem with the story ... it's smart people going at the speed of light in the wrong direction.

What exactly does Goodwin think Colter is going the SECOND time he goes into Sean's mind? If it's a 8 minute happening, why does it keep happening time and time again? Why does she think that any bombing that's also fact results in a scenario that keeps playing out? Knocking on Goodwin's forehead, hello ... anybody home? How do the underlings get hoodwinked into this 8 minutes of a stink bomb of a dead man's premise? Nobody around for the research stage? How is the parallel reality not a given? That's should be as certain as that Sean is completely fucked.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby blu » 11 Apr 2011

You'll have to excuse me if I'm being incredibly dim here, but I want to clarify the exact issue you're taking with the film because it's not entirely clear to me.

How does Goodwin buy into this nonsense of this 8 minutes of dying man's (Sean) thoughts? Not going into the thoughts themselves but ... how does that premise move forward to actually finding the bomb? So what ... getting into Sean's dead or dying mind gets Colter moving things forward past what Sean knows about or dreams about (post-death)? No, no you say, that post-death thoughts only gave Colter access to the train and Colter's mind takes over from that? To what exactly? To go back in time? To a construct (post-death) that Sean can't create? Well, just while we're kidding ourselves let's say yes. So what part of a parallel reality aren't we already into and why wouldn't anybody over a fifth grader realize this?


Is the problem with the fact that:

A. Colter supposedly got off the train and/or generally experienced things that it would have been impossible for Sean to know from his seat (where it seems he would have been having his happy/hippie conversation about going to India as the bomb went off), or

B. Some kind of (straw man) argument that Colter's imagination was taking over and creating the details of anything that Sean didn't experience before he got all blown up, or

C. That the explanation for why Colter could experience things that Sean didn't was that he was quantumly leaping into an alternate universe every time (and not just a repeating memory) and that was plainly obvious yet the so-called experts couldn't see that, or

D. None of the above?

I think you're arguing (C), that the parallel reality (multiverse malarkey) is a given and that they're all incredibly stupid or naive not to realise that from the get go.

Hm.

Well, perhaps relevant was that Colter talks to Goodwin about this being a 'sim' (simulation), and her saying that it's not, which implies to me that they've plugged him in to some similar things to test the probes they've jabbed into his brain before (also witness the rhyme and playing cards) in some other kind of controlled environment. My assumption of what was happening was that the computer was programmed with the 8 minutes of memory that they were able to salvage from Sean's brain. That was the "Source Code". That information was fed into a simulated architecture into which Colter was injected. The rig whirred and clicked and worked all of the conscious and subconscious elements of Sean's memory into the way that Colter behaved to produce likely patterns of behaviour from the other travellers. Included into all that was probably things like geography and simulations around the surrounding stations they were passing through.

This appeared to be an untested risky project that had to show its worth. Time was of the essence and it needed to produce a result. How many cop shows or films do you see where a key piece of evidence goes overlooked because a person wasn't answering the right question or saying what an interrogator wanted to hear? Colter was obviously disorientated and they didn't have time to deal with that. All Routledge was interested in was a name to prove the worth of his project and so he kept on hitting the button as soon as he could to get him back in there.

Could Sean have known whose name was on the inside of the wallet that was intentionally dropped by someone when getting off the train? Not directly, but the computer could have whittled it down with the factual knowledge of who was on the train, the fact that Sean's brain obviously picked up on some level the fact that a 20-something dark-haired white guy had it handed to him by a ginger haired teenage kid and that guy got off the train at that stop.

Now ... when he started spewing out the registration plate of the bomb guy. That would have made me stop and think, but it seems to me that if Colter can deliver a name, then the computer to which I assume he's plugged into can deliver that reg plate to him?

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 12 Apr 2011

Oh, it's C but my understanding is that Sean was selected because he was the closest 'fit' to Colter. This contradicts your idea of Sean thoughts going into a computer that's running the simulation. Moreover, obviously that's not happening. Colter is in a parallel world, not a computer model. This is why Colter sees Sean's reflection in the mirror BEFORE seeing what Sean looks like from photo in his wallet. It's not some computer dealio, he has taken possession of Sean's mind.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby blu » 12 Apr 2011

The line about him being the closest ‘fit’ could be poppycock fed to him to try to maintain the illusion that he’s actually alive and not just a brain in a jar in a lab. That’s one possibility. But ok, let’s assume that Colter is somehow inhabiting Sean’s mind. Physically we still have electrodes in brains connecting to each other via some technological gubbins – we are shown that much. And we still have someone in a lab pushing a button to send Colter leaping back into Sean. There’s still some technological solution making this all happen even if the host environment is Sean’s brain rather than some Matrix-esque construct.

In my mind it’s not impossible that some additional external information is being fed in at the same time to fill in the blanks, making all those involved in the experiment assume that the extra information Colter seems to be perceiving that would be out of Sean’s range not such a huge clue that things are not what they seem. If they can get a whole different personality inside his brain, it doesn’t seem unreasonable they can get Google Street View and a passenger manifest in there too.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 13 Apr 2011

blu wrote:The line about him being the closest ‘fit’ could be poppycock fed to him to try to maintain the illusion that he’s actually alive and not just a brain in a jar in a lab. That’s one possibility. But ok, let’s assume that Colter is somehow inhabiting Sean’s mind. Physically we still have electrodes in brains connecting to each other via some technological gubbins – we are shown that much. And we still have someone in a lab pushing a button to send Colter leaping back into Sean. There’s still some technological solution making this all happen even if the host environment is Sean’s brain rather than some Matrix-esque construct.


Admittedly, the Scientist is hiding the truth or the movie is even worse than I'm giving it credit. But, how can Sean not be a 'fit' for Colter ... after all, he is occupying his body. If you don't believe that we need to we need to take a step back and see if we view the movie the same before the flaws. I see it as:

1. Colter gets the obvious, that he is occupying Sean's body and it's go time
2. Colter makes a deal with Goodwin to pull the plug on his brain (once he is back on the train)
3. Colter plays out the scenario, stops the bomber and gets the girl.
4. Colter sends a message to Goodwin II (i.e. in his NEW world) explaining what she doesn't know.
5. Colter walks off into his new world with the girl, still occupying Sean's body as shown in the mirrored reflection.

Now, if you see it differently we should discuss that before other matters.

blu wrote:In my mind it’s not impossible that some additional external information is being fed in at the same time to fill in the blanks, making all those involved in the experiment assume that the extra information Colter seems to be perceiving that would be out of Sean’s range not such a huge clue that things are not what they seem. If they can get a whole different personality inside his brain, it doesn’t seem unreasonable they can get Google Street View and a passenger manifest in there too.


Not to sound glib but if getting a passenger manifest for a commuter train without a manifest because there are no reserved seats, no reservations and people get on and off as they please does not define "impossible" I don't know what does. But let me ask you a question if you don't buy into the parallel world: what is the premise that moves the action forward (once Colter is on the train) to find a bomb that's already exploded, on a train that never really existed? Magic?

I think the story would have been SO MUCH BETTER if they simply dealt with this. They could have had a story with Goodwin asking others the same obvious questions that anyone would have. Having her work through the layers of bullshit just as Colter was working it through on his side. Now, that would have been outstanding. Instead, Goodwin comes off as lovely but brain dead. Worse, the story makes no sense.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby blu » 13 Apr 2011

We see the film the same pretty much. I buy the alternate reality solution, and I'm not really concerned about the science that they use to explain it "quantum parabola whatever". I'm just exploring ideas as to why the people in the film may not acting as stupidly as you think they are. Perhaps it's a leap of faith too far for you to believe that the scenes that are playing out with each jump also have some external influences/information filling some gaps. But I do agree that it needs explaining somehow.

If we trust Goodwin and co. that they being truthful about believing he's reliving a memory, I see 3 possibilities:

1. They think he's babbling incoherently about being able to go beyond the 8 minutes and/or change events that have already happened. eg. Colter telling them that he got Christina off the train and saved her and them utterly dismissing him, assuming he's totally disorientated and coming unglued due to the mental strain of dealing with it all.

2. They understand that some elements of what Colter perceives in each jump is being filled in by some external source by a huge number crunching computer plugged into Sean's brain. On that point, of course you are right about about a manifest, but it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that they'd identified the majority of the dead or injured on the train. That they've managed to retrieve Sean's body indicates that a hurried rescue/retrieval mission has been going on. That's a manifest of sorts. Or ...

3. Your take that at worst they're completely dumb or at best the pressure on them to deliver a result doesn't allow them the chance to stop and think about the fact that what Colter is reporting back is not fitting with the idea of reliving an 8 minute memory.

I'd like to see it again specifically with these thoughts in mind because I'm sure I've missed a few bits and pieces. I'd like to know specifically what information Colter gives them that contradicts the reliving a memory idea and how compelling it is if they're assuming something completely different. Certainly it's feasible that this is the first time the technology has been used, and we all know how stubborn scientists can be when the real life results of their experiments contradict the theory of what the results are expected to be.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 14 Apr 2011

blu wrote:If we trust Goodwin and co. that they being truthful about believing he's reliving a memory, I see 3 possibilities:

1. They think he's babbling incoherently about being able to go beyond the 8 minutes and/or change events that have already happened. eg. Colter telling them that he got Christina off the train and saved her and them utterly dismissing him, assuming he's totally disorientated and coming unglued due to the mental strain of dealing with it all.


First let's remember that Colter does NOT go past the 8 minute mark until the end so he's not commenting on some 8 minute mark, Colter is simply addressing his ability to change outcomes. Yes, it would seem obvious that since he can leave the train (something he does in the very first scene on the train), that should be clear. However, my problem is never with what Colter does or how quickly he catches on it's with Goodwin and Dr. Rutledge.

Keep in mind, I'm giving a complete pass to idea that they are putting Colter into the dead body of someone whose dying mind is out there as some primordial goop somewhere. I mean that's craptastic but I'm going with the flow. What I can't 'go with the flow' on is the aftermath. How are scientist and/or smart people buying into:

1. Once getting Colter into Sean's body, that there is anything to explore. Sean's dead. The train exploded. NOTHING they do will change that fact. And nothing they do does change that fact. So, exactly what is Colter exploring if not a parallel world?

or

2. Once getting Colter into some smart simulation, how does a smart simulation in any way shape or form help them explore real outcomes i.e. where a bomb truly is or finding a bomber that can't be possibly be simulated by a computer that doesn't know who the heck the bomber is or the bomb for that matter? I mean how basic is that?

Bottom line, Dr. Rutledge got some funding on the premise that his work would lead to something that makes a difference. The only way to that funding is to answer the basic questions above. And the only way any intelligent person would fund that research is a reasonable answer to those questions. It's a house of cards UNLESS Dr. Rutledge knows the truth of parallel reality and shared it with the powers that be.

That leaves poor Goodwin as a dumb ass of the year award candidate for not being able to ponder the most basic of issues.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby blu » 14 Apr 2011

Well there you go then. Goodwin wins the award. ;-)

I’m happy with the possibility that Rutledge knew and kept schtum about the full story of what was going on there, or I’m also content with the prospect that the lack of questions about what Colter was experiencing implies there was something additional going on in the background (as possibly alluded to by this idea of a ‘sim’). But equally I think it’s feasible that this is their first proper run of the machine, they don’t know what to expect and are just reacting to Colter’s feedback up to the point where it really begins to contradict their expectations. It doesn’t tear the film apart for me.

And just on the point of whether Colter goes past the 8 minute mark before the final leap: when he gets off with Christina and is fighting with the Arabic looking chap on the platform does he not go beyond the 8 minutes? The train explodes in the background, and it’s only him being hit and killed by a different train that knocks him back out of that reality. No? Otherwise he would have stayed there?

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 14 Apr 2011

blu wrote:And just on the point of whether Colter goes past the 8 minute mark before the final leap: when he gets off with Christina and is fighting with the Arabic looking chap on the platform does he not go beyond the 8 minutes? The train explodes in the background, and it’s only him being hit and killed by a different train that knocks him back out of that reality. No? Otherwise he would have stayed there?


I don't know if we ever see the "official" clock just before he's pulled back, so it doesn't seem definite to me. It could be that fatal trauma or the computer countdown bring him back. BUT, we do know the computer brings him back AFTER the explosion when the white van leaves and girlfriend lies on the ground scene. He is awake and looking at the explosion so it would seem that the official countdown ends a few seconds after the explosion.

But, you're killing me with the 'sim' stuff. If you want to suggest a scenario how a simulation is feasible to find a bomber the computer doesn't know, I'm all ears.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby blu » 14 Apr 2011

Film Syncs wrote:But, you're killing me with the 'sim' stuff. If you want to suggest a scenario how a simulation is feasible to find a bomber the computer doesn't know, I'm all ears.

Well that's not quite what I'm suggesting, but I'll try to expand on what I mean.

My assumption is that risky projects like Source Code involving jabbing stuff into dead people's brains still in the future come with a whole host of moral quandaries and extensive testing periods. The reference to a 'sim' makes me think that Source Code has been tested with Colter in an offline environment. i.e. a synthetic memory and not directly in someone's brain. To me that reference to 'simulation' means a computer simulation.

Since this program/machine is capable of meshing factual objective information with a person's consciousness (for want of a better expression), I see no reason why in a live environment it's not capable of providing information to fill in blanks, hypothetically allowing a person to get up and move around inside the live environment. It seems feasible and is kind of alluded to that this is the first time (or certainly one of the first times) that they've used Source Code, and the scientists don't truly know what will happen, or what is happening, and they're relying on reports from Colter. Basically, to a large extent they're winging it.

So the actual "Source Code" is Sean's memory. Sean's memory took place in a certain time and a certain place. Without doubt Sean's subconscious picked up information that the real live Sean at the time did not realise. In a bid to augment the memory the program also fills in certain elements of factual information such as who was believed to be on the train according to stuff they found on the search and rescue mission (for example a wallet), physical details of those individuals, the the geography of the area, and (as far as the scientists believe) it allows Colter to explore and roam.

That's feasible to me.

That scenario combined with a somewhat incoherent subject, a huge amount of pressure to produce a result very fucking quickly, and the fact that they are treading into the unknown might to me explain why these scientists either dismiss or are slow to pick up on messages from Colter which contradict with their expectations.

YMMV

Feel free to poke at it. ;-)

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 14 Apr 2011

blu wrote:So the actual "Source Code" is Sean's memory. Sean's memory took place in a certain time and a certain place. Without doubt Sean's subconscious picked up information that the real live Sean at the time did not realise. In a bid to augment the memory the program also fills in certain elements of factual information such as who was believed to be on the train according to stuff they found on the search and rescue mission (for example a wallet), physical details of those individuals, the the geography of the area, and (as far as the scientists believe) it allows Colter to explore and roam.

That's feasible to me.


Sooooo, when I laid out what I believed and you said that's how you see it (more or less) what you really meant was 'heck no, not at all.' ;-)

To my limited way of thinking there is no Sean in our world - he died on the train. Borrowing from Pulp Fiction, "Zed is dead baby. Zed is dead." There is no super smart database and computer creating a train. It's that Colter is being passed into Sean's body in a parallel world. That's why the train exists, it hasn't been bombed yet there.

Think of it this way, if there was some super-smart computer creating an environment that Colter can move around in, the computer would know what's going on. This is completely different from what we know - the only information they are getting comes back from Colter. Thus no computer sim and as importantly no ongoing link to the parallel world other than putting Sean there and retrieving him. This is also how they save Chicago. Sean gives them the info to act on, otherwise they are fucked.

What is plausible to me is that the story at some point becomes a death dream of Colter's. But, that does not seem very satisfying a story.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby blu » 14 Apr 2011

Wait wait wait.

I think I misunderstood you when you laid out what you think is happening. I really need to go back and see this again and listen to what Rutledge says when he's explaining Source Code because my understanding of it is based on the premise that they've physically retrieved Sean's body. And he's dead. But they have this remnant of activity in his brain that they can plug into. And whilst they believe they are sending Colter into a memory (with the bells and whistles that I talk about in the paragraph you quoted), they're actually sending him to a parallel universe. Which Goodwin understands at the end, but Rutledge never does.

What you're saying is that there has been no physical retrieval of Sean's body and instead there's some even more hokey science than I imagined.

I agree with those points 1-5 that you laid out a few posts back, but my understanding is predicated on having Sean's body and a bunch of extra information that would have been uncovered when sifting through the wreck of the exploded train. Without the body and that information it all becomes very much more difficult to explain. I totally agree.

I need to see this again.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 14 Apr 2011

Well, I don't think we really know exactly happened to Sean's body. We do know that Rutledge talks about Colter best match being Sean. Which leads to the idea that they tried others. As the train wreck ONLY occurred that morning, do the math. Whatever happened it's not something they want us to dwell on.

Again, I do think that Rutledge gets the parallel universe/reality from the get go. He may or may not believe it goes on its own path which leads to the possibility that he's keeping that a secret. Hard to say. What I think is easy to say is they are instead plugging into Sean of another reality and that Sean is fucked.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby blu » 18 Apr 2011

One might argue that the Sean from the reality in which Colter lives on in would have been fucked regardless because the bomb would still have gone off, but I take your point.

I'll probably come back to this after the DVD is out. Not sure I'll make it back to the cinema to see it again, but I am curious about whether watching with some of these thoughts in mind will make it a different experience for me.

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Re: Source Code Discussion

Postby Film Syncs » 19 Apr 2011

Well, EVERYBODY on the train was screwed in Reality1. I highlight Sean because he is the only one dead in Reality2 ... at least the way I view the film. I think the director even acknowledged that.

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