2 May 2008 | moviesleuth2
A good little thriller
Some of the hardest reviews to write are the ones where you don't know what to say. "Awake" is one of them. Let me just start with the basics. Do I recommend it? Yes. Is it GOOD? That's what's hard to say about this movie. Some parts of "Awake" are good, but some are merely okay.
Like many thrillers, telling much about the plot defeats the purpose of seeing the movie. However, I will tell as much as I can.
The story goes like this. A rich young man named Clay (Hayden Christensen) goes into the hospital for a heart transplant, and he suffers from anesthetic awareness (meaning he can feel and hear everything, but can't do anything about it). This is key because what he hears changes everything.
That's about all I can say. "Awake" is an entertaining little thriller, and Jody Harold certainly has potential as a writer/director. His low-key handling of the film makes for an interesting, almost dreamy approach, but I don't know if it works like it's supposed to, because I have a feeling that it decreases the amount of suspense that the material warrants. That said, the unusual tone makes up for this deficiency.
The acting is solid too. Hayden Christensen became famous for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in the second and third "Star Wars" episodes. His first outing wasn't great, and called into question his acting ability. However, his second round with the light saber was terrific, and his performance here shows that "Episode 2" was more likely to be an anomaly than the norm when it comes to his acting ability. His co-star Jessica Alba isn't as good, but it proves that she has more acting ability than many people give her credit for (her reputation for being a tabloid sensation and the limited acting options that result from it are probably to blame). Terrence Howard is solid, but he isn't given much to work with. Same goes for Lena Olin.
Personally, I think it sucks when you like a movie but a lot of that feeling disappears when someone points out something that causes that to decrease. Such a thing happened with me and reading a review after watching "Awake," but I won't say it because it's still a good movie to see.
So, is "Awake" a good movie, or just a movie with enough good points to warrant a viewing? I'd say it's somewhere in between, leaning more towards good.