Sunday, July 5, 2009
When you look at the numbers, the seemingly innocuous number of 0.01 percent of the population who wake up during surgery seems much more startling when one considers 21 million people per year undergo surgery...which is equal to 21,000 incidents per year. The concept of waking up during surgery and aware to pain, but paralyzed from the other drugs in the anesthesia cocktail creates a startling premise upon which to build a suspense film. What an excellent, disturbing concept.
Awake takes the concept of waking during surgery and weaves a story of intrigue and greed around the idea in a manner that makes for a refreshing if not simplistic storyline. Ample foreshadowing provides the viewer with some cues as to what is coming without completely divulging the participants or manner in which the elements would tie together. A degree of supernatural out-of-body type experience allows for the plot to be revealed and gives the writer (Joby Harold, who also Directs) a method for tying together other loose ends. Although the dialogue wasn't necessarily exceptional, the plot lines and character development helped overcome the mediocre dialogue.
Without giving away any important plot details, Awaketells the story of a young prodigy, Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) with heart problems, whose life is saved by a struggling Doctor (Jack Harper, played by Terrence Howard) who has a history of malpractice suits. Clay and Dr. Harper form a close bond, which troubles Clay's mother, Lilith (Lena Olin) who can afford the best for her son. And the best seems all that Lilith is willing to accept, creating conflict between the two. The introduction of a love interest, Sam (Jessica Alba) creates further strain on Clay's relationship with his mother.
The acting in Awake failed to meet the same standard as the plot. Although Howard and Olin were decent, I did not care much for Christensen or Alba. They didn't seem to have good chemistry. I had trouble buying into their relationship. Some of the scenes between Olin and Christensen seemed to be a bit off as well. I'm not sure what the source was, but I had trouble believing the relationships.
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