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Director: Duncan Jones.
Screenplay: Ben Ripley.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright, Brent Skagford, Cas Anvar, Michael Arden, Craig Thomas, Russell Peters.
Voice of: Scott Bakula.

Director Duncan Jones’ debut “Moon” has been one of the best science fiction films of recent times, causing obvious excitement and anticipation for his next project. Well… this is that project, and although it doesn’t quite match the quality of “Moon“, it cements Jones’ position as a great new talent.

US military helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is drafted as a test subject for a scientific process which can project his consciousness into the past (and another person’s body) for a limited time. Suspicious of his handler Captain Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and the programme’s director (Jeffrey Wright), Stevens repeatedly lives through the last eight minutes of the life of a passenger on a commuter train which has just been destroyed by a terrorist bomb until he can find the person responsible.

There’s nothing quite like getting down to business and that’s exactly what Duncan Jones does here. Within minutes we are thrust into the action and spiralling plot and admirers of the television series “Quantum Leap” will no doubt realise that they are on familiar ground. In keeping with similiar themes from his previous film, Jones explores the isolation of Gyllenhaal’s character, which results in paranoia and distrust for those around him. Questions are also posed as to his identity and mortality, much in the same way of Sam Rockwell’s character in “Moon“. Two very different films sharing common themes. Jones is the type to include a few in-jokes in his films also. There’s a Chesney Hawkes ringtone being a reminder of Rockwell’s alarm clock in “Moon” and the voice of Gyllenhaal’s father provided by a certain Scott Bakula from “Quantum Leap”. Not to mention an uncanny likeness to (Jones’ father) David Bowie’s 1969 song “Space Oddity”. It’s a story that shares similarities with many before it… “12 Monkeys” and “Groundhog Day” being a notable couple. However, Jones makes his own impression on this common premise and is helped with great performances by his actors. The only problem was the questionable ending. It had it all wrapped up at one point before deciding on a crowd pleasing Hollywood number that let’s down an otherwise excellent film.

Intriguing and thought provoking. Keeping you hooked and interested from the get go. Science Fiction has a great future if Duncan Jones stays involved.

Mark Walker

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