Awake (2007)

Awake is a drama that uses "anesthesia awareness" as the core to the plot. It stars Hayden Christensen, and Jessica Alba.

Christensen plays Clay Beresford, a too rich banker with an overbearing mother. He secretly dates and falls in love with his mom's assistant, Sam Lockwood (Alba). Clay is also in need of a heart transplant. When he goes to the OR, well, you can kind of figure out that he's awake the entire time, and by the way, there's a plot to kill him, and there's a drunk anesthesiologist involved in the mix.

This film had lots of potential, but whoever the technical advisors were just didn't make it happen. First of all, for someone in need of a heart transplant, he never is even short of breath, or has any chest pain, and looks fine. Not gonna happen. If he can function with his daily routine, he's not getting close to any transplant list.

Next, the scenes in the OR just degenerate. Every time we see the monitor, the heart has a rate of 30 (sinus bradycardia). Even when they're shocking the heart, again it's sinus bradycardia which makes no sense. Also, I can tell you that the drapes were inadequate to preserve sterility, there were no lines to the patient for the pump (heart lung bypass machine), and it took way too long to even intubate the patient after induction of anesthesia. Quite simply, it seems like there were no technical advisors.

Finally, if you think about it, they chose the wrong operation. With a heart transplant, the heart is totally removed from the body, before the new one is sewn into place. There is no pulsatile blood flow, and the patient is totally dependent on heart lung machine. How exactly is the brain functioning with no pulsatile blood flow to be aware of anything?

I could go on and on, and it doesn't make any sense to me. Without going into too many details, I can tell you that anesthesia awareness is a real problem, although not a common one. I have seen it once, and although the patient was completely aware, they were not in any pain. The patient was even able to recount portions of the operation, and conversations that took place while they were out. Unfortunately, all you as a patient can do is hope your anesthesiologist knows what they're doing, and hope for the best (this can help but not everyone is a big fan of it).

Anyway, I can't really recommend a film like Awake that has so many plot holes poking their way through it that it looks like Alpine lace Swiss cheese. If you're gonna make a film like this, you gotta get the technical details right, or I'm gonna ding you. Awake is a literal snooze.

Overall Grade: D+

Reviewed by Jonas

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