Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Chilling and thought-provoking
I have often been accused of watching movies purely because the general public likes them, and if they like it, then as will I. Not true. I watch movies that people talk about and give my two cents, sure, but there are movies that I adore that the general public doesn’t…for whatever reason. Same vice versa. Awake is one of these films. Because I recently referenced this film in my review of If I Stay, I found myself on edge because I knew I had to watch it again – if only to review it. People don’t really give this film the credit it truly deserves, so I’m here to set the world straight. Awake is a deeply distressing film that should be given another chance because it is so messed up…and so good.
The film is about anesthetic awareness, and Hayden Christensen plays a very rich man that practically owns half of the city he lives in – but he has a heart condition and needs a transplant fast. He’s dating the lovely Samantha Lockwood (Jessica Alba)– whom he absolutely loves as much as his defective heart will allow. When he is finally prepped for surgery, the anesthesia puts him under enough to paralyze him, but not enough to knock him out. He can feel everything that’s happening in excruciating detail. The roughness of the unsharpened blades, the cold ammonium that stings his skin, the cutting and separating of his ribs…all of that – but that’s not even the worst part. He overhears his best friend and trusted doctor collaborating with the other doctors on a secret plan to murder him and collect $100 million in life insurance – and their plan to get away with it is meticulous…and Clay (Christensen) can’t do anything to stop it.
Seriously, now, who wouldn’t love this movie? The concept alone is brilliant, and it may not have needed the murder conspiracy in order to survive, but believe me when I say that I think it actually made the movie feel just a little more complete. There is a lot of messages throughout the film. It first shocked us with the fact that over 30,000 patients experience the physical aspect that Clay goes through in this film – which in and of itself is chilling just to think about. Then, it goes into the main story about the plot to kill him. While some of this is a little farfetched and unbelievable, the heart of the story isn’t.
When you look beneath the fact that all of these doctors are trying to kill him, you find a very ugly truth about life. People can have this ever maddening appetite for greed which twists and contorts their very existence. What people in this film are willing to do for money is disgusting and wrong – but it’s not unbelievable. This is a movie about greed, but this is also a movie about unconditional trust as it clashes with unforgiveable betrayal. Terrence Howard plays not only his handpicked surgeon, but also his best friend that he trusts with his life. He wouldn’t pick a trusted surgeon that operated on presidents because his trust for a friend and doctor supersedes the very knowledge he has that his doctor has personally already had four malpractice suits.
I know a lot of people probably don’t want to see this movie primarily because of Hayden Christensen. I get it – you think he ruined Star Wars for you…or something like that, but I personally think this is one of his best movies. In fact, I believe the same goes for Jessica Alba and Terrence Howard. Their performances in this movie, and absolutely messed up chemistry with each other is so good that you just can’t help but keep watching. I would also suggest you keep an open ear for the musical score in this movie, because that alone is comprised of chillingly beautiful songs composed on a piano that fits so well with the tone of the movie. I really don’t get why people didn’t like the movie.
If you’re looking for a chilling and creepy tale with a really great tone that makes you think – look no further. The topics this film covers will chill you to the core. In my opinion, this is one of the best movies that any of the three main actors have ever participated in.
People might expect this to be bad based off of the current rankings seen on review sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. Other than that, the whole story progression is a bit extreme and you might scoff at some of the things that happen…but I implore you to give it a chance.