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Awake (2007)


Surprising, really, that “anesthetic awareness” (helpless, immobile and very rare consciousness during surgery) hasn’t been explored in a thriller more often. In Joby Harold’s film, young millionaire Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) is undergoing a risky heart transplant operation when he realizes the anesthetic isn’t working as it should — he is completely and silently paralyzed, but continues to hear and feel everything around him. Clay, like so many men before him, tries to block out the pain by intense concentration on memories of his girlfriend, Sam (Jessica Alba). His focus breaks down when he overhears some less than reassuring words from his doctors, and from there a trapped Clay races against time, desperately attempting to alert Sam and/or his possessive mother (Lena Olin) of his impending danger. You might wonder how a silent, immobilized man can accomplish this. Well, basically, Christensen walks through his memories, and sort of mentally projects himself into the world he overhears. In the end, this screenplay sidesteps the metaphysical for more conventional thriller twists.