Awake

2008-06-27 10:07
 
What it's about:

Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) is wealthy, young and in need of a new heart. On the night of his wedding to Sam Lockwood (Jessica Alba), much to the annoyance of his over-protective mother (Lena Olin), he gets the call that a donor heart has become available. Clay's anesthesia fails during surgery and he becomes part of the 60 000 Americans who experience "anesthetical awareness". Clay attempts to alert the surgeons that he is conscious and is able to hear and feel everything while simultaneously uncovering a grim secret.

What we thought of it:

While the cast is scattered with well-known Hollywood actors like Terence Howard, Hayden Christensen, Lena Olin and the aesthetically pleasing Jessica Alba, if you watch Awake without any expectations, you'll be pleasantly entertained.

Awake cheaply plays on human fear, it's basically Saw but with less gore and a considerably better storyline. There are cleverly disguised twists in the plot and a complimentary divide between drama and thriller. Fast-paced, visually addictive and suspenseful, there's something for everyone without tipping the scale in any one direction.

First time writer/director Joby Harold sticks to an unpretentious storyline and in just under 90 minutes the movie has everything needed to be better than average. The almost accidental display of Alba's assets in the opening scene is a clever gimcrack, but that's where the gaudiness ends.

For once Alba's annoying holier-than-thou persona is perfectly suited to the role. She's a big girl now who's trying to prove she's more than just a hot piece of ass, though she doesn't seem to mind showing it off to get your attention. But semantics aside, Alba manages to pull off the role almost bearably. Christensen is flawless in more ways than one and has Hollywood in the palm of his hand. He's so easy to watch and his good looks complement his acting ability rather than being a crutch or distraction. Howard tries too hard to inject valour and dignity into his character, who is undeserving of the effort. Playing it straight would have suited the overall theme. Olin is underappreciated and underused as Clay's mom.

Awake is worth the watch, not brilliant, not piss-your-pants scary, but certainly very good.

- Ashlin Simpson

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A painful movie experience – and we're not just talking about Jessica Alba's stab at being a serious actress.

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