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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner2/04/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 84 mins

Ridiculous thriller that would almost qualify for so-bad-it's-good status, were it not for yet another painfully wooden performance by Hayden Christensen.

What's it all about?
Hayden Christensen plays Clay Beresford, the head of a successful capital investment firm, who is awaiting a heart transplant to be performed by his doctor and friend, Jack Harper (Terrence Howard). In addition, Clay has been keeping his relationship with his personal assistant, Sam (Jessica Alba) a secret from his over-protective mother, Lilith (Lena Olin) for over a year.

Urged on by Jack, Clay secretly marries Sam, only their wedding night is interrupted by the news that a heart donor has been found. However, during the transplant, Clay experiences anaesthetic awareness and overhears the plotting of his own murder.

The Good
Awake starts well enough with intriguing characters and an interesting set-up, while the awake-during-surgery scenes are both smartly directed and genuinely disturbing. In addition, writer-director Joby Harold pulls off an impressive twist that manages to reverse your opinions of every single character in the film.

The Bad
The problem is that the moment Clay undergoes his out-of-body experience (getting off the table and wandering around the hospital, trying to prevent his imminent murder), the film becomes utterly ridiculous. It then compounds its ridiculousness with a series of increasingly ludicrous twists that completely destroy any goodwill you might have had towards the film at that point.

To make matters worse, Christensen delivers yet another painfully wooden performance that means his character is the least interesting in the film, while Howard's character is so badly written that his loyalties flip back and forth multiple times within the same scene. That said, there's strong support from Lena Olin and the film plays some interesting games with Jessica Alba's casting, but it's not enough to make up for the stupidity of the plot.

Worth seeing?
In short, the film is watchable enough if you're prepared for it to get very stupid indeed, but Christensen's energy-draining performance means that you'll find it hard to stay awake through Awake.

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Content updated: 18/01/2020 08:54

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