ABSTRACT

Source Code (Duncan Jones, 2011) can be viewed through two ‘grids’ of concepts: conventional narrative logic and video game rules, each of which highlights certain structural aspects of the film while ignoring others. The premise of this chapter is that the structure of a few contemporary narrative films, such as The Fifth Element (Besson, 1997) (see Buckland 2000, 2002) and Inception (Nolan, 2010), as well as Source Code, are in part structured using the abstract rules of video games. These films are shaped by both narrative and video game logics, creating unusual structures-a complex structure, in the case of Source Code (and, to some extent, Inception ). Each theory simply highlights one aspect of Source Code, rather than trying to account for everything in it. In this chapter I do not adopt a hermeneutical perspective to determine the film’s wider philosophical meanings or cultural production (see Garrett Stewart’s insightful analysis of the film in “fourth dimensions, seventh senses: the work of mind-gaming in the age of electronic reproduction,” in this volume); instead I explore how both theories study the formal construction of Source Code.