There’s nothing worse than watching a film wasting its potential. Having a competent group of actors and a promising set-up, then seeing it all thrown away can be painful. ‘Awake’ is such a movie. Whilst the idea sounds intriguing, its execution is way below standard. That seems to be the byword for these cheaply made quickies, resembling 1940s B movies with little style or substance. More a cure for insomnia than keeping one alert, ‘Awake’ is a pedestrian effort continually travelling in the cinematic slow lane.

Crashing his car after being forced off the road, Michael (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is taken to hospital with severe injuries. Waking up in hospital, he can’t remember who he is. The local police, headed by Sheriff Roger Bower (William Forsythe) and FBI Agent Frank Ward (Malik Yoba) suspect him of being a serial killer. As evidence and bodies begin piling up, Michael, along with Diana (Francesca Eastwood), a nurse who befriends him, hunts for the killer in order to prove his innocence.

Badly directed and written, ‘Awake’ is a bust almost from its first frame. It isn’t any fault of the actors who do their best with threadbare material. Doing their best not to trip over the story’s many plot holes, the performers have a bored look throughout, going through the motions without much enthusiasm. You can’t blame them as logic seems to be missing along with any passion. It feels as if they are there purely for the money with most of the low budget gone into their pockets.

The lack of music score also hurts ‘Awake’. Scenes that should feel dramatic fall flat due to no musical cues to highlight the drama. Despite the interesting set-up, ‘Awake’ has a generally low-key feel to it. Whether that was the approach the director wanted, it was the wrong one. A thriller shouldn’t send anyone to sleep but rather hold interest with fascinating clues, good characters and unpredictable plotting. ‘Awake’ has none of those, working more like an outdated carnival ride doing one last spin before it is taken to the scrapheap.

As much as the actors try, ‘Awake’ is a poor effort unworthy of anyone’s time. All the good acting in the world can’t disguise A bad script or crummy direction. ‘Awake’ isn’t even a ‘rainy day’ type of movie – more one has to watch in desperation when you’ve seen everything else.

Rating out of 10: 1


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