Movie Review: Awake (2007)

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Drama


Clay Beresford (Hayden Christiansen)  is a wealthy young man, who’s a bit of a philanthropist, donating much of his money to hospitals.  His giving is also tinged with self-interest, as he needs a heart transplant soon, or he will die.  Clay wants his friend, Dr. Jack Harper (Terrence Howard) to perform the operation, but his mother, Lilith, (Lena Olin) has already picked out a world-famous surgeon,  Dr. Jonathan Nayer (Arliss Howard) to perform the surgery .  Clay doesn’t get along that well with his mother, he thinks she rubs his face in their family’s wealth and he resents it.  Clay resents his mother so much that he hides a relationship that he’s been carrying on with Lilith’s secretary, Sam Lockwood. (Jessica Alba)  Lilith is suspicious of Sam, convinced that she is only after Clay for his money. Clay secretly marries Sam, and then gets the news that a donor heart is available.

Unbeknownst to either doctor, or even Clay himself, is the fact that Clay suffers from anesthetic awareness, a condition where Clay is completely awake during surgery, but unable to move. During the transplant, Clay hears something that makes him want to get out of bed and scream for help, what is going on during his surgery that makes Clay want to scream for help?  Who does Clay choose for his surgery?

Awake is kind of a gimmicky movie, because anesthetic awareness is a generally rare problem, which is usually caused by too little anesthetic being used.  Some of this movie is really far-fetched, but if you can suspend reality for a few scenes, Awake turns out to be a pretty good thriller.  This movie actually has a twist or two that makes the movie better.  That is quite rare. Furthermore, I’m amazed that first time writer director and writer Joby Harold got such good performances from the usually moribund Hayden Christiansen, who did his best to kill the Star Wars franchise, and the reliably bad Jessica Alba, who hasn’t done anything good since Dark Angel on tv. Terrence Howard does such a low key performance, that I thought he was under the influence of a local anesthetic.  But, luckily, Lena Olin comes to the rescue with a multi-layered complex performance as Lilith, and adds a lot of heft, that the movie simply would not have had without her.

Awake. And sing the praises of a flawed, but interesting thriller.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s