Thursday, April 17, 2008



I've never been under general anesthesia before, not that I want to, but I guess without first hand experience, one can only imagine what it would be like to be somewhat unconscious while your body's at the mercy of surgeons who are responsible in cutting you up and putting you back properly. I guess we've all heard of our fair share of horror stories with miscellaneous surgical tools being left inside our bodies, and one thing's for sure, I'll be pretty much scared shitless if I have to go anesthesia for a major body repair too.

I usually have a general distrust of the doctors, especially those who have to peer, poke and prod within you, because one wrong move or diagnosis, and you're in for some pretty troubled lifestyle for a long time. If Awake reminds us of anything, that'll be to choose your doctors wisely. Even though they are your friends, should they have dubious abilities and worse, bad credentials, references and have lawsuits to settle arising from malpractice, take it as a sign to run away, fast. It's nothing personal, just professional, since it's your life at stake, not theirs. So don't be stubborn, and engage the best possible surgeon you can afford.

And perhaps mothers know best too. Lena Olin stars as Lilith Beresford, the mother of billionaire scion Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen). Being the overly protective and domineering single parent in his life, Clay finds it hard to connect with her, much lest trying to break the news that her employee Samantha (Jessica Alba) is the woman that he's been dating and going to marry.

But of course, he's faced with a disease that requires a heart transplant, having the stars play games with him too for being of the rare O- blood type. When a donor becomes available and he's strapped to the operating table by Dr Jack Harper (Terrence Howard), here's where the titular condition kicks in, describing how a certain percentage of patients actually stay conscious throughout the whole process of surgery. I would really hate it to be in his shoes when your chest get opened up from scalpel to drill, or worse, having the skull opened to get to the brain.

This movie earned its rating for blood curling in-your-face surgical sequence, but other than that, it runs in a pretty breezy fashion, clocking under 90 minutes to weave a tight medical thriller. I must say I came in with low expectations, and came out quite surprised at the twists put into the story, which is not really contrived and forced to make the whole thing work. The clues are there all the while for an attentive audience to pick up along the way, and when you do, you'll probably still smile when it gets delivered and confirms your suspicions.

Awake is very bleak on its take on love however, what with in sickness and in health, for better or worse. It tells you to look carefully, beneath beautiful facades to try and peer into a person's character, which frankly can be hidden quite easily until it is too late. Christensen didn't have much to do since the crucial scenes all involve his voice over narration in an out of conscious body experience, emphasizing his shock, disappointment and discovery of what's actually transpiring in conversation with the doctors.

And it's definitely not something anyone wants to hear at all, and the sequence of being overcome by anesthesia, is worth the ticket price.

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