Anesthesia awareness occurs when a patient has not had enough general anesthesia to prevent consciousness during a surgical procedure and remains awake and aware although unable to communicate. This is the interesting premise of awake. Unfortunately, by the time it ends you feel like the main character and wish you were not awake through the scarce eighty minutes it lasts.
The movie is divided into two halves. The first half tries to ineffectively introduce the characters. Clay Baresford (Hayden Christensen), a wealthy New Yorker in need of a heart transplant, is engaged to Sam Lockwood (Jessica Alba), his overprotective mother’s assistant. No need to say that Lilith Baresforth (Lena Olin) does not know anything about his son’s engagement. Dr. Jack Harper (Terrence Howard), a friend of Clay is the one in charge of the surgical procedure. Half an hour seems too much time to spend describing such archetypal characters. Mainly when nothing they tell is going to help you understand what is going to happen.
The second half, that could actually survive on its own, starts with Clay laying on the stretcher about to be put to sleep. At least they try. After that, the movie reminded me (just that) of essentials Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s breakdown (1955) (seventh episode of the first season of alfred hitchcock presents (1955)), and Dalton Trumbo’s johnny got his gun (1971). It did for around forty two seconds. Joby Harold’s scriptwriting and direction skills are those of a beginner, which he cannot hide, even though he is able to deliver a couple of remarkable instants (rather than moments).
Towards the end, the movie splits into what is going on in Clay’s head and what is going on in the real world. Unfortunately, the editing does not really help. On top of that, we are surprised with not one, but three twists, one right after the other. And do not worry if you are one of those people that need to watch these kind of movies twice to close all the knots. They will try to explain what is going on with both tricky flashbacks to the first half of the movie and a past we did not know about.
The cast, as everything else, is, at the most, mediocre. I am still waiting for Jessica Alba to find that role that turns her into a cute good actress. As for now, she is just cute. Christensen, as always before, bad, although I will say that improved since we saw him as Anakin Skywalker. Howard and Lenin are certainly under their possibilities. I have the feeling they did not buy their character either. But then again, who does?
All in all, an interesting idea surrounded by a whole load of nonsense. A short movie might have been a better fit for this plot. Nevertheless, the same way Ashley Judd has found her audience, some people will actually enjoy this ride.
For the deadhours of those about to put themselves under the effects of general anesthesia.