5. Source Code (2011, dir. Duncan Jones)
Director Duncan Jones’ feature film debut, Moon (2009), announced the arrival of a new filmmaking talent who had no problem creating mind-bending stories that may not leave audiences satisfied. His second feature, Source Code, starred Gyllenhaal as a soldier whose mind is inserted into the memory of a man who died during a terrorist attack on a Chicago commuter train. That’s right! Gyllenhaal’s character must re-live the last eight minutes of the man’s life over and over again until he can find out who was responsible for the bombing.
While the basic plot seems like typical sci-fi fare, Jones takes the story in an entirely different direction than one might expect and Gyllenhaal expertly adapts to every twist and turn that is thrown at his character. Throughout the film, Gyllenhaal is either trapped in a non-descript room talking to other characters through a two-way monitor or scouring a train for the bomb or bomber. Somehow, though, Gyllenhaal manages to make every scene feel more suspenseful and critical than the last.