By Jeff Davis
For all you Star Wars enthusiasts out there, Awake stars Hayden Christensen, the actor who played Anakin Skywalker and ultimately Darth Vador. Also playing critical roles in the film are Jessica Alba and Terrence Howard, well known for their roles in Sin City and Crash, respectively.
The movie opens with an interesting statistic. Over three million people each year undergo anesthesia, seemingly knocked out cold during surgery and most people don’t remember a thing. However, 30,000 people undergo a certain phenomenon called “anesthesia awareness.” They are temporarily paralyzed yet remain fully aware. They experience a living hell as they consciously undergo the pain of the operation. Meanwhile, the surgeons assume their patient is safely asleep.
Awake is a short film with many surprising turns. Hayden Christensen stars as Clayton, a man who inherited millions from his deceased father. Clay is a busy man with his company, and all this stress and activity has caused him to have a bad heart. This bad heart leads to his operation during which the film is centered, where Clay enters the unenviable state of anesthesia awareness.
This movie is not for the faint of heart. The graphic surgery reveals the most intricate details of Clay’s anatomy. If you don’t like blood and guts, this movie isn’t for you.
One wouldn’t think an operation could be exciting, but Awake completely reinvents the meaning of “surgery.” We see Christensen at his best in outstanding tandem to Alba, who played the role of Clay’s wife Sam. Sam is forced to deal with her own problems as she awaits the outcome of her husband’s surgery.
During the surgery, Clay partakes in the fascinating occurrence of astral projection. This is the idea that one can project one’s self out of his body and actually observe himself from above. There has been documented proof of this occurrence and yet many simply do not believe it is possible. In Clay’s heightened state of awareness, he manages to leave his body while being operated. He accesses certain memories he would have previously considered unreachable.
The one aspect of this movie that is disappointing is the fact that it ends abruptly—a bit sooner than expected. This does not take away from the thrill of the plot, but the viewer would probably like to see a little more at the end.
The plot really begins to unfold as Jack, played by Terrence Howard, operates on Clay. Out of his body Clay is able to hear things previously not possible for him to hear. This enables him to unwrap and decipher an intricate plot formed against him. The mind-boggling twist that ensues is completely unexpected and utterly horrifying. Awake gets two thumbs up as a thriller suitable for just about any college student.