Went to see this today with OH and two kids. The thing that really surprised me came very near the beginning.
Double. Decker. Train. WTF?
Talking about the film on the way home, it turned out that the two-layer train had been a significant factor in the kids' deciding that the film was set in the future. However, what with the mention of current conflicts, that doesn't seem so likely to me, and that much CGI would also be prohibitively expensive, so I'm left with the conclusion that they really do have double-decker trains in the States. Weird.
The other thing that surprised me was just how pretty Jake Gyllenhaal is. I had no idea. (The way my memory works is that I've always known exactly how to spell his name, but I've never been aware of what he looked like. Applies to lots of other well-known people too.)
So, I enjoyed the film a lot more than I expected to.
I worked out quite early on that he was dead. If he was just in a simulation capsule, or wired-up to some kind of mind-management gubbins, he wouldn't still be in his flying gear and harness. At that point I very nearly got up and walked out - I really didn't want to watch something dark and tragic, the more so because by then I had already quite fallen for this guy who was working so hard to solve this problem for everybody.
Towards the end they gave us a very quick glimpse of the body in the tank, and I realised then that there simply wasn't enough of it. I thought the more graphic shot a little later was unnecessary, although to be fair I don't think my kids got it from the earlier glimpse.
I didn't like Dr Rutlidge or whatever his name was; he showed no respect for Gyllenhaal's character at all. Also, what was all the business with the stick, ffs? Was it supposed to add to the characterisation in some way? I just thought it got in the way and added nothing.
Goodwin, on the other hand, I thought was totally brilliant. You could see how difficult she was finding it all. She totally did empathise with him, and treated him as a person. Whoever that actress is, she's good.
The girl on the train - Christina? - I found rather ugly; I suppose it was her job to be passive while he protagonised all around her, but I really couldn't understand what he saw in her at all. I expected him to fall for Goodwin.
As for the story itself, that was well handled and nicely developed each time he went back in. It was a little like a game, where it takes you a long time to work out each step, but when you've got it you just click-click-click through the steps automatically till you get to the bit you haven't figured out yet.
I sort of wish I knew how to write proper reviews, but I haven't got the time or the privacy to think too deeply about it. I'll just say I enjoyed it rather a lot, and maybe it's time I actually watched Brokeback Mountain.