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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Awake (**)


A man receiving a heart transplant undergoes a phenomenon called anesthesia awareness where he doesn't go under, remains conscious during his procedure, and experiences the procedure going horribly wrong. Awake makes that man Hayden Christensen, a callow billionaire mama's boy who has Jessica Alba as his fiance. To its credit, the cinematography is lush and Awake has some surprising tricks up its sleeve. But then the filmmakers puts the screws on the audience where we learn the first act doesn't play fair with what we were shown. Not only is nothing and no one what they initially appear to be but on top of the main murder plot, Awake then piles on a totally extraneous second murder mystery in flashback where apparently a ghost can literally have a heart to heart with a consciousness trapped in anesthesia awareness. Alba both looks fantastic and takes some interesting turns with her role. The cast, including Terrence Howard and Lena Olin, does what they can with the unbelievable hogwash that goes on in the second half of the movie. Apparently surgeons who don't work at a hospital can just come in and do whatever they please if called by billionaires who suspect something's not on the up and up. Maddening to watch a movie blow it the way Awake does.