MOVIE: Awake (2007)

Even though this movie stars the LAME Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen), my mom and I still felt compelled to rent it because the subject matter sounded so intriguing.  It’s about a rich guy named Clay Beresford who runs some kind of big-deal financial company along with his overbearing mother (played by the great Lena Olin).  But Clay has a problem — a bum ticker.  Over the last several months, he and his new doctor, Jack Harper (Terrence Howard), have become more than just doctor/patient, but also close friends.  And together, they’ve been waiting for the call —  the call that will come when there is finally a heart available for transplant into Clay’s chest.

Meanwhile, Clay has fallen in love with a gorgeous, energetic young woman named Sam (Jessica Alba) who works as an assistant to his mother.  His mom is furious when she finds about about their relationship, though, considering Sam to be way too far beneath him in the social strata.  Nevertheless, Clay decides to run off one evening and elope with Sam, and about two hours after they’ve exchanged their vows, that phone call he’s been waiting for finally comes.

Clay and Sam rush to the hospital and are met by Dr. Howard and his dedicated team, and it’s not long before Clay is being prepped for surgery.  Only, something goes terribly wrong and instead of actually putting Clay under, the general anesthesia merely paralyzes him without also making him unconscious.  In other words, he can’t move or speak, but he is aware of his surroundings and can feel everything they are doing to him.

The pain part is terrifying enough, but things get even more excruciating for Clay when it becomes clear that some members of his medical team are planning to kill him on the table (I won’t say which ones, as the movie does a fairly good job of making you suspect various combinations of them until the Big Reveal sets it all straight).  So, now he’s conscious of what the plan is but completely unable to do anything about it.  Will his wife figure it out?  His mother?  Or are they in on it too?  What the heck is poor Clay gonna do?

USE THE FORCE, CLAY!  (Sorry, but can you blame me for being unable to resist that one?)

Though this movie has some weak spots — Hayden being one of them, I must say — overall, it was actually pretty entertaining.  Part of that was due to the suspense created by the fact it’s actually a challenge to figure out who is involved and who isn’t.  The rest was all from the acting — I’ll take Lena Olin any way I can get her (I love that woman!) and Terrence Howard does a great job too.

Here’s my question about the premise of this movie, though — maybe one of you knows the answer.  If it’s true that this can actually happen in surgeries (that you can be conscious even though you are supposed to be all the way out), why can’t they tell he’s still conscious from his heart rate?  If he’s panicking and in horrific pain, why isn’t his heart rate absolutely off the chart, in other words?  Obviously the anesthesia doesn’t also paralyze his heart (since that would make him dead a lot faster than sabotaging his surgery would!), so why did his heart continue to beat at a calm, even pace even while his brain was completely freaking out?

And yes, I could go look this up myself — I am a librarian, after all.  But dude, do I have to do ALL the work around here?  Seriously.  Time for you guys to give back, yo.

In any case, decent flick, Lena Olin rules, I hope my heart never needs transplantin’.  The end.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Thriller
Cast:  Darth Vader, Terrence Howard, Jessica Alba, Lena Olin, Arliss Howard



11 Responses to “MOVIE: Awake (2007)”

  1. Alisaj29 Says:

    Meg, I think you may know what I’m going to say, but I hated this movie. I was so bored that had I not paid full price for the ticket, I would have walked out.

    Needless to say I only went because hubby like Jessica Alba, and I do have to say I try to root for her whenever she’s in a movie, but all seem to suck. The Eye, need I say more???

  2. Lizzie Says:

    Oh dear, it sounds like I’d be terrified by this movie, but then Alisaj29 says it was boring! Who to believe? Such a conundrum … Well, I guess I’ll just have to see it for myself! [Note: Meg, I always PAY ATTENTION to your recommendations … I just don’t always necessarily AGREE with them!]

    And why do you guys hate Jessica Alba so much? I liked her in the “Fantastic Four” movies, and I must confess, I’m getting into her old show, “Dark Angel” – lots of boyfriends, and good boyfriend material, BTW: Jensen Ackles, Michael Weatherly, and someone I recognized from “Numb3rs” – Alami (sp?) Ballard. Also, Kevin Durand, but you can’t recognize him under the “superfluous canine DNA” costuming. Also, I must admit, the bad guy is kind of cute!

    So anyway, WELCOME HOME again, Meg! And keep those reviews coming – they’re great, whether you agree with them or not!

  3. Alisaj29 Says:

    Lizzie – Meg and HARDLY ever agree on movies, so it’s a safe bet to say that if Meg liked it, I didn’t and visa versa. LOL

    As far as Jessica goes, I don’t dislike her, but I find the movies that she is in when she is the main character tend to suck, BUT I did like Good Luck Chuck, even though I don’t like Dane Cook, so maybe one of her movies isn’t bad; and I do like the Fantastic Four movies, but again she isn’t the main character.

  4. megwood Says:

    I don’t hate Jessica Alba. I just don’t find her all that interesting of an actor, which is why I didn’t really have anything to say about her character in this review. Oh, hi, Jess! Sorry, I forgot you were there! 🙂

    I really liked the first season of “Dark Angel,” but burned out kind of quickly by season two. Lots of cute guys in that series, though, definitely!!

  5. Rochelle Says:

    I really have no comment on the movie but I think they did a Dateline about the conscious during surgery thing. I don’t actually watch Dateline but I saw a commercial. They must have had some explanation. The concept does sound terrifying.

    Any way I really wanted to comment that I watched My Name is Bruce last weekend and it rocked! It was so awesomely terrible that it was terribly awesome. As soon as I finished the Netflix disc, I put it in my Amazon wish list.

  6. megwood Says:

    Okay, okay, I went and looked it up. The phenomenon is called “anesthesia awareness” and it does actually happen (though not often). Apparently, though, it CAN result in signs that are detectable by a good anesthesiologist, like sweating, tears (crying), and a rapid heartbeat. They’re also working on brainwave monitoring for types of surgeries at higher-risk for AA. More info here:

    Dude, I TOTALLY forgot about “My Name is Bruce” — didn’t realize that was out on DVD yet! Just put it in the first slot of my queue. “It was so awesomely terrible that it was terribly awesome” is one of the best reviews of a movie I have ever read, Rochelle. SIGN ME UP! 🙂

  7. jo Says:

    No comment on the movie – but about the anesthesia awareness thing, I personally know two women who this happened to during emergency c-sections. Maybe three. I’m not good with numbers. But I know it’s more than one, which scares the bejeebers out of me. Cause I don’t know all that many people, which makes the “not often” part a little to often for comfort.

    See how freaked out the thought of it makes me? I can’t even type a coherent paragraph.

  8. megwood Says:

    I thought you were usually awake for c-sections, though? Is it different if it’s an emergent one? How awful for them — not only the stress of suddenly being a Mom, but having to carry the horror of that too. I hope they are both okay, Jo!

    Totally freaky!!

  9. Trip Says:

    I remember the last time I was awake during an excruciatingly painful experience and was paralyzed and could not get my body to respond…

    It was about 10 minutes into Showgirls….


  10. megwood Says:


  11. jo Says:

    Bwah!! Trip FTW.

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