MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Hayden Christensen as CLAY BERESFORD
Jessica Alba as SAM LOCKWOOD
Terrence Howard as DR. JACK HARPER
Lena Olin as LILITH BERESFORD
Christopher McDonald as DR. LARRY LUPIN
Directed by: Joby Harold
Studio: The Weinstein Company
BY KEVIN CARR
Be careful what you wish for. That is good advice for Joby Harold, the director of the soft thriller “Awake.”
I realized this when I watched the special features for “Awake,” available now on DVD. Harold explains in the behind the scenes featurette that this was basically his big shot. After moving to L.A. and working as a screenwriter (presumably as a script doctor and in-house coverage lackey), he wrote this movie and got his break to direct it himself.
Sometimes it works out to hold out for everything you want to keep your movie pure. It paid off for Mel Gibson when he did “The Passion of the Christ.” But when it comes to a movie that has the acting prowess of Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba, it’s not the best bet in Hollywood.
“Awake” tells the story of a billionaire who undergoes a heart transplant. However, he finds himself awake and aware during the surgery, silently screaming to the pain. Soon, though, he shakes off the agony and begins to listen to the surgeons, leaving his body and discovering a plot to kill him on the table.
The general filmmaking of “Awake” was decent enough. It was well shot and editing, and I didn’t find it particularly boring. The problem was that it was so far fetched that I couldn’t swallow the story. There are too many twists in the plot, balancing itself on assumptions and unbelievability. It never quite gels as a thriller because Hayden Christensen overacts throughout, yet manages to come across completely dull.
And while I am an apologist for Jessica Alba, she wasn’t enough to save the movie. Sadly, even if she donned her chaps and leather vest from “Sin City,” I doubt the eye candy would have been enough to save this film.
The DVD comes with feature commentary from Harold, which tends to be a bit self-important, as well as deleted scenes with optional commentary. There’s also a decent behind-the-scenes featurette and some storyboard-to-film comparisons.