Friday, March 7, 2008

Awake - DVD review

AWAKE (**1/2) - Starring Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Terrence Howard, Lena Olin, Christopher McDonald, Fisher Stevens, Georgina Chapman and Arliss Howard.
Directed by Joby Harold.

This movie wasn't as bad as most critics would have you believe. It depends on if you're willing to take the ride. Once the surgery starts and Hayden Christensen realizes he can still feel everything, it becomes quite a suspenseful ride. Were all the turns in the ride believable? No. Were they predictable? Some were; some weren't. Once I understood the way things were going to work in this little universe writer-director Joby Harold set up, I was able to start figuring out where they rest of the journey was going to take me, but that middle third? Very cool.

My complaint about the movie would be that the protagonist doesn't really protag that much. In fact, if he'd just stayed asleep during the heart-transplant surgery, and the main characters were his fiancee and his mom, the plot and conclusion wouldn't have turned out that different. But he is awake, in this paralyzed state, his spirit stepping out of his body at one point, and he's powerless to get anyone to listen.

Hayden Christensen, unfortunately introduced to the world as Anakin, is okay enough in his own right. He showed with Shattered Glass he can act. Jessica Alba, with every movie she makes, is proving less and less so. If the movie'd had two powerhouse leads, their convictions might have been able to better gloss over some of the plot points. As is, Terrence Howard and Lena Olin do the heavy lifting in the acting department.

It's a smaller movie, a perfectly fine rental. And if you don't like it, well, it's only 80 minutes long.

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