The story focuses on a man who suffers "anesthetic awareness" and finds himself awake and aware, but paralyzed, during heart surgery. His mother must wrestle with her own demons as a turn of events unfolds around them, while trying to unfold the story hidden behind her son's young wife.
Depressed housewife learns her husband was killed in a car accident the day previously, awakens the next morning to find him alive and well at home, and then awakens the next day after to a world in which he is still dead.
The tagline is a gross misrepresentation of statistics. The actual estimate of awareness during anesthesia is 1:14000 for high risk patients to as low as 1:42000. See more »
In the flashback where Clay is initially rushed to the ER, Dr. Harper says 'We have a massive heart attack, possible MI'. MI is an abbreviation for myocardial infarction which is commonly known as a heart attack. See more »
But hey you know what? As soon as you get out of here, we're gonna start from scratch. Get a little house on the beach, do it right, ya know? Chase seagulls, what do you say? As soon as you get out, I'll be right here.
I think my new heart will love you as much as my old one.
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Awake, the new thriller by first-time director Joby Harold, takes off from a grisly real-life phenomenon called "anesthetic awareness." This is when patients are unaccountably left fully consciousand physically paralyzedduring surgery, and Harold (who also wrote the script) has spun a preposterously entertaining yarn from this grisly germ of an idea, and manages to hold us in a vice-like grip for pretty much the entire film. How often can you say of a Hollywood thriller that you don't have a clue what's going to happen next? Awake is brazenly indifferent to plausibility, but you can't help but admire the film's audacity. Along with fantastic plot twists, Harold throws Hitchcockian flourishes and elements of Greek tragedy into the mix like a crazed chef. In lesser hands, Awake would have been a tawdry melodrama, but Harold believes in his material so fervently (in a way a more seasoned professional never could) that the film works on several levels at once. Ingenious as it is, it's not mechanicalit has soul.
Harold brings such energy and focus to the scenes that he transcends the subject matter and gives it an almost surreal intensity, and the performances are strong enough to keep the film's nuttiness from capsizing it. Jessica Alba is suitably luscious and beguiling (her role gives new meaning to the term "heartbreaker"), and Lena Olin and Terence Howard are both in fine form. As the unfortunate victim of anesthetic awareness, Hayden Christensen comes into his own as a performer (having mercifully managed to escape the Mark Hammil curse: that of being horribly miscast by George Lucas). Christensen has an unusually expressive face (the camera takes to him), and he can convey emotion without ever appearing to do muchfortunately, because the film hinges around his internal struggle, and on our feelings of empathy for him.
Awake is a white-knuckle movie experience if ever there was one (it even carries a viewer warning), with some of the most sheerly visceral scenes of horror ever committed to celluloid. Watching someone undergoing open-heart surgery while fully conscious (and able to feel the incision) is enough to frazzle the nerves of the most hardened horror veterans, and this film is certainly not for the squeamish. Too bad the loopy plot (and the melodramatic character revelations, which are really just tired genre conventions) finally stretches our credibility to breaking point. As a result, Awake lacks a strong climax, and as a roller-coaster ride it doesn't have enough emotional depth to be fully satisfying (its shallowness is at odds with its rather contrived attempts at pathos). But for most of its length it's close to a pop classic, and probably the best metaphysical thriller since The Sixth Sense (a film I didn't much care for). In fact, Harold better watch out or he may wind up as the next M. Night Shyamalan. Awake has so many twists it makes you dizzy.
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