Awake is a 2007 science/crime/supernatural thriller written and directed by Joby Harold. It stars Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Terrence Howard and Lena Olin. The movie explores the idea of anesthesia awareness or that some people are mentally aware despite being in a state of complete sedation by general anesthesia.
Plot. Clayton Beresford Jr. (played by Hayden Christensen) is a wealthy man who needs a heart transplant. He is in love with his mother’s secretary named Sam (played by Jessica Alba) whom he marries on the eve of his surgery. His mother wants him to be operated by a prestigious doctor but instead, Clayton succeeds in having his surgeon friend, Jack, do the operation. However, Clayton finds he is still “awake” during the operation. Worse, he discovers a plot to kill him and get his money which fortunately involves Jack and Sam. With his awake mind, Clayton manages to convey what he feels to the people around him. His mother eventually sacrifices and gives her compatible heart to him. Sam and Jack, after attempting escape, are caught and justice is served for Clayton.
Review. Awake is a wonderful psychological thriller, very thrilling and engaging, very new and original. The storyline seems dull and unexciting, but the movie itself is a big wow. It is fast-paced and though started out as romantic, the minute details of the affair was leave out to give way for the much better anesthesia awareness part. This way, audience will also not invest emotional attachment to Alba’s character who turned out to be the villain in the end.
Awake is also full of surprises right from the beginning. The twists and turns are unbelievable, and the revelations pile one after another in a suspenseful momentum that audiences are left speechless. As great as the details of the medical elements, the movie also succeeds greatly in establishing tension without horror or gore.
Reception. The movie received generally negative reviews. Only 24% of 54 critics in Rotten Tomatoes gave positive reviews. However, it succeeded commercially as it opened #5 in November 2007. With its budget of $8.6 million, the movie earned at least $32.7 million.
Rating. I will give the movie four stars out of five. Awake is a refreshing and unforgettable film. However, it is not as remarkable as the core idea of the movie demands.