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Awake ***
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rossiter Drake*

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AWAKE

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Terence Howard, Lena Olin, Christopher McDonald. Rated R.

Feature Presentation: Writer-director Joby Harold’s paranoid thriller about a wealthy socialite anesthetized and subjected to a fatally flawed heart surgery snuck in and out of theaters quickly and with little fanfare, but it deserved better. Set mostly within the halls of Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital Center, whose quaint floral-patterned walls impart a sense of hollow, desperate cheer, Awake plays artfully on our most basic fears – the helplessness felt by those who entrust their lives to science and, in this case, a team of reckless surgeons. Once he’s under, Clayton (Hayden Christensen) is free to uncover the plot against him, courtesy of some out-of-body detective work that yields a series of startling revelations. They are silly and almost laughably far-fetched, but Harold’s debut is stylishly self-assured and suspenseful enough to quicken the pulse.

Bonus Materials: Harold’s commentary might seem a tad clinical, but as a shot-by-shot deconstruction, it offers a revealing glimpse into the filmmaking process and the exhaustive care with which the first-time director, a meticulous cinephile, approached each scene. Elsewhere, we’re treated to a blooper reel with at least one memorable outtake: Jessica Alba dashing madly through the hospital's crowded hallways, clumsily barreling into one unsuspecting extra after another.

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