awakebluOne of my worst fears ever is going under the knife and not being fully sedated hearing every nook and cranny of the surgery. Many aspects are true to the source material in ‘Awake’ since there having been reported surgeries that have gone wrong with anesthesia. This isn’t a film for the squeamish as it feels like an episode ripped right of out the television series ‘E.R.’. An interesting little fact is that this film is written by first time writer and director Joby Harold. With a $30 million dollar worldwide box office total gross, ‘Awake’ was rather successful in theaters.

The story is rather simple, Clayton Beresford (Hayden Christianson) needs a heart transplant or else he will die. He is a very wealthy young man as the CEO of an investment firm. He has fallen in love with Sam Lockwood (Jessica Alba) whom he has been engaged to for the last six months. The problem arises when he keeps the engagement a secret from his mother (Lena Olin). Clayton has been afraid to share the engagement with his mother, which sets Sam off when she finds this out. Clayton has a relationship with his mother where he is looked upon as a mama’s boy early on, but more things will be brought out in the open as the story unfolds.

Time is ticking against Clayton as he has been waiting for a heart for over a year to match his blood type. While he waits for the transplant to occur, we spend sometime with both his mother and Sam learning about his relationships with them. Then we learn that Dr. Jack Harper (Terrence Howard) will be conducting the surgery. What makes things interesting is that Dr. Harper has been nailed with a few malpractice lawsuits. This is where we see his mother beg and plead with Clayton that Dr. Harper is not a good choice to perform the surgery. She insists that he use her boyfriend Dr. Jonathan Neyer (Arliss Howard) as his surgeon instead. He doesn’t have a track record of malpractice, yet Clayton insists that his friend conduct the surgery.

The added stress from his hidden relationship with Sam from his mother really shows on Clayton’s face. While his mother doesn’t like this and is really against his decision, there is not much that she can really do to change his mind. This pushes him even further into Sam’s arms. As we would see in the film, they would get married even without his mother’s approval. In a way this is a heavy weight lifted off of his shoulders once they get married.

With one problem semi-resolved, he has another one still waiting for him on the operating table. Things go awry for him when he is put under anesthesia, yet he hears everything during the surgery. He panics, but there is nothing that he can do but lay there hearing all of the doctor’s and nurses conversation. There is no way that he can let them know that he is hearing and feeling the surgery. As he hears what they are saying, he hears a few things that really upset him, so tears start pouring out of his right eye. There are a few twists and turns that happen which set this film into a wild rollercoaster ride.

I am not one for medical films as I come from the squeamish neck of the woods. Even though I do enjoy films like ‘SAW’, there is just something with my fears of the medical table. Going into this film, I was very iffy about the material. To my surprise the films story is very well laid out with twists and turns in tow. You even start to feel sorry for the characters through the situations that haven’t been so kind in their lives. There is a lot of drama and chilling moments throughout the film, where I would classify this as a suspenseful thriller once the truth comes out halfway through the film.

The acting is well done from everyone involved. Hayden Christianson does a fairly good job in his role, even though at times he still has not overcome that monotone feel to his voice. He comes off very cut and dry in his roles with a lack of excitement going back to the Star Wars films. This is something that he needs to really work on if he is to be successful in Hollywood. I will say that this is one of Jessica Alba’s better performances in a long time. She plays the role of the girlfriend/wife very well with the mixed emotions due to the strain in their relationship.
Movie Content: 3.5/5

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 codec with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are very bold and vibrant as they pop off the screen in many scenes throughout the film. Once scene that I like to point out is in the hospital as they go through the doors and you see the round red sign on them. It screams pop with nice details. Blacks are also very deep. Fleshtones also have excellent details with proper lighting that gives faces a more natural look.
Video Quality: 4/5

Audio quality is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. While ‘Awake’ is more dialogue heavy, there are moments during the film where sound effects do come into play. The soundfield is well presented during the operating room scenes where we are taken through Clayton’s mind. At this point is when we start hearing more sounds through the rears. It is a rather interesting aural experience. Dialogue comes through the center channel very clean and sounds crisp. This is more of a front heavy audio experience, yet engaging when the surrounds are used.
Audio Quality: 4/5

Special Features

The special features are presented in standard definition and aren’t that long in length as you would expect.

  • Commentary with Writer/Director Joby Harold
  • Under The Knife & Behind The Camera: The Making Of Awake
  • Storyboard To Film Comparison
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Special Features: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

‘Awake’ is a film that I didn’t think that I was going to enjoy, but it surprised me as to how well the story was written. Video and audio quality is very well done for the Blu-ray release of the film. I highly recommend ‘Awake’ as a rental if you are a fan of suspenseful thrillers with twists in the plot.
Overal Rating: 3.5/5