Source Code – Movie Review

Source Code – Movie Review

Review by Stacey Tuttle

“What would you do if you had one minute left to live?”  Colter Stevens is sent back in time repeatedly to try to identify a mystery terrorist before he can kill millions of people, but what is really on his mind is something a little more fundamental than his complex mission.  Colter is thinking about relationships—two in particular.  One is his burgeoning romance with Christina, the other is his un-reconciled relationship with his father. 

Of the three things at hand – doing his job and saving millions of lives, finding love with Christina, and figuring out how to reconcile with his dad – the one which eclipsed all others was making peace with his dad.  Knowing about the terrorist, knowing that “one minute to live” wasn’t just a hypothetical, Colter said, without pause that he would “call my Dad, hear his voice and tell him that I was sorry.”  He even put the mission on hold to do just that.  It seems that before Colter could move forward, before he could do his job, before he could find or at any rate focus on love, Colter needed reconciliation and forgiveness—both to give and receive it. 

I don’t know that this point needs a lot of dressing up or discussion.  It’s simple, profound, and deep enough to fill volumes.  In fact, there are entire sections of book stores dedicated to the importance of relationships and the need for forgiveness. 

Source Code is an action-packed, time-travel mystery adventure story, but what makes it really work is that, at the core, it seems to get it, that life is all about relationships.

We all have a job to do and we all want to find love.  But, before we can really move forward in either of those endeavors, have we done our best to find peace, forgiveness and healing with our pasts?  Is there a relationship that is unresolved in your life?  Something that holds you back from moving forward?  Something which haunts you?  We tend to think we can deal with it later, or that things will get better with time.  That may be true.  But time is not a guarantee. 

 If you knew that you only had one minute to live, would you suddenly find the courage or the motivation to act?  Would you find that maybe forgiveness and healing was more important that holding on to some twisted concept of your right to be angry or your dogged grip of whose fault it is?  Would knowing you were about to die suddenly give you a paradigm shift on what really mattered? Maybe it’s a good thing to pray about.  Colter had a ready answer for that question, but I’m not sure mine is quite so clear.  Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to ask God to reveal what relationships need some healing so that I can (you can) move forward in life.  Maybe he will reveal to us what would really matter if life were about to end.  Wouldn’t we do a better job of living if we really lived in light of that knowledge day by day? 

Colter’s mission was crystal clear.  He had just eight minutes every time he went back in time.  Eight minutes to locate the terrorist.  That was his job.  But he also had equal clarity on his personal mission—find a way to tell his Dad he was sorry.  Once that was done, he had to find a way to be with Christina.  Everything else was superfluous.  Dad, Christina, Terrorist.[1]  Colter was able to accomplish great things in those few spans of eight minutes (he was able to go back multiple times) all because he was living in such a sense of urgency.  Knowing time was short, knowing all that was at stake helped him to do the most important things.  If we too knew how short our time really was, if we really did understand all that was at stake, truly understanding the prospect of an eternity in heaven or hell, how differently would we live? 

Questions for Discussion:

  • How would you answer the question, “What would you do if you knew you only had one minute to live?”
  • What relationships are un-reconciled in your life?  Do you need to ask for forgiveness, or extend it…or both?
  • Do you feel that un-reconciled relationships hold you back from moving forward?
  • Do you think that you might change the way in which you witnessed to others if you had a different perspective of time, both here on earth and in eternity?
  • What do you think it would take to help you live life with the clarity, singularity of purpose and urgency that Colter Stevens had? 
  • Would you like to know what really matters in life, or do you feel like you already know?  Have you ever asked God to show you before it’s too late?


[1] I could get really symbolic here and point out that his three key roles were what ours should be too:  we ought to have our Heavenly Father first, family (spouse/marriage/children) second, work third.