Tuesday, December 11, 2007


From the opening slates stating that every year such and such number of people go under anesthesia, and every year such percentage are awake the whole time, I knew that I was ready for the movie to be over. This opening was just short of saying this was based on a true story. Does that mean we're going to immediately start feeling for the star, Hayden Christensen? Sorry, didn't work on me.

I can't tell much about the plot, because it is filled with some twists. Essentially, it's about a very rich and powerful heir going under the knife for a heart transplant. He then suffers from anesthesia awareness, resulting in him being conscious, yet paralyzed during the operation. How does he handle this? Somehow he makes it through by screaming to himself, "it's only pain." Somehow all that pain vanished in time for him to be able to overhear a plot to kill him during his operation. And that's all I'm gonna tell you about the plot.

I really don't Hayden Christensen (except for his role in Life as a House), and this movie continues that streak. It seems fitting he'd be paired with the sexy, yet vapid Jessica Alba. Finally, add Terrence Howard, the actually decent actor who's been in six other movies this year. Him, and Lena Olin (playing Christensen's mother) are the only two characters with any sort of convincing emotional struggle. And the audience still doesn't care all that much about them.

There were some interesting directorial techniques from Joby Harold. He blurred the lines between time periods, consciousness, and reality. Scenes with Christensen leaving his body and witnessing events he could not possibly know about were a little troubling, but they were a little reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I was able to suspend my disbelief for this, and actually appreciate it. Unfortunately, the interesting directing doesn't make up much for a mediocre script, and terrible acting. Thankfully, it has a merciful 80 minute run-time. If it stuck around any longer, Awake could be a perfect cure for insomnia.


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