directed by Duncan Jones
A slick script and strong directorial talent are the keys to a good film. It’s a first for screenwriter Ben Ripley (who penned some trash before this), but the sophomore directing attempt for Duncan Jones shows he has mad talent. In music, an artist’s second album will tell you if they are true blue or not (the first album being the one they have been working on for years as they try to get noticed), and if the same rule can be applied to film, then Jones is truly the real deal. After the sensational space gem, Moon, Jones is back in the sci fi saddle for this story about a soldier (Jake Gyllenhaal) reliving an 8 minute loop in an effort to prevent a bomber from leveling downtown Chicago. Yes, it’s kind of like Groundhog Day, and yes, it’s kind of like Donnie Darko, and kind of like a few other films that I shan’t mention so as not to give away anything, but it’s not simply aping its excellent predecessors, instead working to find its own voice that can make itself heard over the audience mumbling things like “What the hell is going on?” and “Remember that part in Groundhog Day…” The film is rewarding in its own way, and strong performances from Jeffrey Wright, Vera Farmiga and Gyllenhaal help keep you into it. Don’t be fooled, though: the film isn’t perfect. It stumbles, it gets sappy, in short, it falls victim to some of the age old filmic maladies, but I would never begrudge a film for that. If I did, I would have to hate half the films I love (Armageddon, The Beach, Romeo + Juliet).