AWAKE (Alliance, 2007) D: Joby Harold, w/ Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN
Awake isn’t a great thriller, but it’s got one of the most original, tension-filled premises I’ve seen in years. A rich guy (Hayden Christensen) goes in for a heart replacement, and the anaesthetic doesn’t work. He’s wide awake but immobile. While they’re ripping open his chest, he learns that someone is trying to kill him. Situations don’t get more perilous than this – or gorier. We get lots of close-up operation shots.
As a writer, Joby Harold keeps his implausibilities well hidden and generates some fun twists as he heads for a satisfying, down-to-earth resolution. As a first-time director, he’s competent and lively, both behind the camera and on his commentary.
Neither Christensen nor Jessica Alba, the love interest, is a great actor, but they’re both in there pitching. Lena Olin shines as Christensen’s domineering mother, deeply annoyed at her baby boy’s life choices.
EXTRAS Director commentary, making-of doc, deleted scenes. Widescreen. English, French audio. English, Spanish subtitles.