Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Awake (2007)

There is a quite reasonable convention that film reviewers and bloggers should not indulge in SPOILERS to avoid ruining the movie for the new viewer. However, some films can not be discussed at all without indulging in these and the convention presupposes that the movie in question could not possibly be enjoyed with such foreknowledge. Well, this film would probably not be all that enjoyable to the virgin viewer and anyone who really wishes to view the dubious procedings would probably not be put off by knowing what's what.

So here we go with spoilers galore. Hayden Christensen, not exactly the cream of leading men, plays one of the richest men in the city after his father's early death. The only problem on the immediate horizon is that he has a wonky heart and a rare blood type. He lives with his overbearing mama Lena Olin who is not aware that he is romancing her assistant, Jessica Alba, and he is too scared to tell her. He becomes friends with surgeon Terrence Howard when the latter saves his life after a previous health scare, and he is therefore keen that Howard should do the transplant when a suitable donor heart becomes available, while Olin is encouraging him to put his trust in a more experienced medical team. Meanwhile Howard encourages him to face up to his mother and to marry Alba, to make the most of whatever time he has left, which he does.

So where do we go from here? Well, it seems that Howard who faces ruin from malpractice suits is actually Alba's paramour and together with a crooked medical team they plan to move him up the donor waiting list by irregular means, let him die on the operating table, and split his vast wealth. The first twist as the blurb at the front would have it is that a certain proportion of patients do not go completely under when anaesthesized and remain conscious of what is going on, pain and all. This is what happens to Christensen as he suffers through the operation and gradually becomes aware of the perfidy around him. This voiceover would have been sufficient had the filmmakers not decided that the plot would be enhanced by having a disembodied Christensen watching and roaming through the hospital. The next twist, when it looks as if their nefarious plot will succeed, is that Olin, when she learns that her son is still being kept alive by artificial means, despite not actually having a heart, takes an overdose so that her heart can be put into her beloved son. The mind boggles somewhat at trying to work out how this could all be done in the time available, to say nothing about whether such a chemically-affected heart would be suitable, and just why Olin's preferred medical team happens to be standing by. So Christensen is given a new lease of life and the baddies are brought down; he may no longer have his Mummy or his beloved wife, but at least he still has all his money! Sorry if I've spoiled it for you. I will admit that the movie held my attention for much of the time as I wondered how it would resolve itself, but I think it had the bare bones for being a far better film than this final cut. (No pun intended!).
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