Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), an army helicopter pilot, cannot remember much of his past. The last thing he can remember is being on a mission in a war-torn region of Afghanistan, but he wakes up on a commuter train just outside of Chicago. Everyone around him, including his traveling companion Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), sees him as a school teacher named Sean Fentress. He tries to understand what has happened to him, but just as he begins to understand what has happened, the train explodes and kills everyone.
Stevens wakes up again, inside a helicopter cockpit that is unfamiliar to him. Suddenly, on the other side of a screen, Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) tells him that he is part of an experimental military operation called the “Source Code.” The scientist who created the project, one Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), planned it so that compatible people could experience the last eight minutes of another person’s lifetime. Steven’s mission is to use this technology to discover the location of the bomb on the train and find the bomber who set it off. According to Goodwin, this bomb is only the first in a larger plan that would set off another, bigger bomb in downtown Chicago.
While Stevens’ is attempting to discover the truth about the bomb, he finds out that the train explosion occurred two months after a bomb blew up his helicopter in Afghanistan. His body is apparently hooked up to life support and his mind is connected to a system of computers that have broadcasted his experience so that it looks like a helicopter cockpit in his head so that he can cope with the experience. Stevens is disturbed, angry, and feels misled. He asks Dr. Rutledge to terminate his life once is mission is accomplished.
Eventually, Stevens realizes that the bomber is a man named Derek Frost (Michael Arden) and he is using a white van to bomb the downtown. Stevens conveys this information to the military and they capture Frost before he can detonate the bomb. Everyone praises his bravery. In secret however, Rutledge tells Goodwin that they must wipe Stevens’ memory so that they can use him in the next emergency. Stevens discovers their plan and convinces Goodwin to let him return to the Source Code one more time, before she disconnects his life support even though she will break her promise to Rutledge.
Stevens then goes back aboard the train and disarms the bomb, while subduing Frost. He handcuffs Frost to a railing and calls the authorities aboard to arrest him. He then uses a cell phone to call his father and mend their broken relationship by pretending to be a soldier that was with his son when he died. After he finishes the call, he challenges a bitter ex-comedian (Russell Peters) to tell stand up and lift the spirits of the passengers aboard the train. He then takes Christina aside and asks what she would do if she only had seconds left to live. She kisses him, just as his last seconds run out. At the last second, Goodwin takes him off life-support. Surprisingly, Stevens finds himself finishing the kiss, still aboard the train. He realizes that he will now remain within this alternate timeline.
Stevens later emails Goodwin and tells her that it is now her responsibility to use his mind properly for future missions in the Source Code. He warns her that he will be scared and unsure of himself, but that she must promise to reassure him.
Written by the Marketing Department for Denver car accident attorney, Robert Koenig.
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