Yes, there's a certain validity to the pitch-meeting shorthand that would describe this science-fiction thriller as "Groundhog Daymeets Quantum Leap,” but that doesn't detract from what it manages to do right.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Capt.
Colter Stevens, a military pilot who awakens disoriented in the middle of a strange experiment: He has been transported into the body of a Chicago commuter train passenger eight minutes before the train will be blown up in a terrorist attack. And no matter how many times he has to keep going back to those same eight minutes, failure to find out who is behind the bombing is not an option.
Screenwriter Ben Ripley effectively builds the relationships between Stevens and both his military boss (Vera Farmiga) and the fellow train passenger he falls for (Michelle Monaghan), while director Duncan Jones (Moon) generates conventional action-film tension within a recurring plot framework. It's actually surprisingly sharp and satisfying —�until it starts tripping over its metaphysics. Familiar time-travel narrative stumbling blocks wind up delivering a bit less profundity than it seems to be striving for, even as it's more ambitious than its high concept might suggest. Grade: B
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