Sometimes it's easy to see how a great idea, something that looked dynamite on the page, can fall apart in front of the camera. Awake may have been a decent but never a great idea, but writer-director Joby Harold still manages to make the best of a bad lot. A Tales Of The Unexpected episode, Awake taps into the fear of patients being conscious during their operation - they can hear and, more importantly, feel what is happening to them. Realising that this would only be just another torture-porn excursion, Harold throws in a supernatural thriller-with-a-twist into the mix to spice things up. Christensen plays multi-millionaire Clay Beresford, a heart transplant patient who insists the operation be carried out by his friend Dr. Jack Harper (Howard), despite the concerns of his mother Lilith (Olin), whose untrustworthy eye also falls on Clay's fiancee Sam (Alba). As the paralysed Clay suffers on the operation table, he hears something he shouldn't - is Harper planning to botch the operation to get his hands on his millions? It is in this moment, when Harold switches genres, that Awake's success and believability will live and die: if you go along with it Awake will satisfy the thriller-monger in you; if you don't, it will fall on its ass, badly. What cushions that short plummet are the performances (Christensen, despite his limitations as an actor, succeeds and the chemistry between him and Alba can't be faulted) and Harold's consistent tone. But Awake is far more than a mere thriller. We're living in a youth-based society - we know everything and don't need any old fogies telling us what to do. Clay represents naivety; Olin represents the all-knowing, the worldly. She has no confidence in the young Terrance Howard and wants the trusted, older, more experienced family doctor (Arliss Howard). Essentially Awake is telling us to shut up and listen to our elders. Fair enough.
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