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Awake Film Review

★ Stars

Directed by: #MarkRaso

A mother looks distressed as she holds her exhausted daughter. The setting is extremely dark with no background detail as the title ‘Awake’ sits in wide lettering in the bottom left corner of the image.

“After a devastating global event wiped out all electronics and eliminated people's ability to sleep, a former soldier may have found a solution with her daughter.”

Awake follows Jill (Gina Rodriguez) and her two children Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt) and Noah (Lucius Hoyos) as they find themselves amongst total chaos due to the ability to sleep being lost. As days pass, citizens lose their sanity because of this lack of sleep which results in a purge-like setting; murder, robbery, and strange occurrences like seeing an entire group of people naked in the middle of the road as they stare at the sun over the horizon… yeah, that might be a little bit more than just strange now that I’ve put it into words. At least there isn’t any overly loud purge commencement sirens screaming through your screen though. You’d think scenes of this nature would hold your attention in the tightest grip but, ironically, I could hardly stay awake during this film. Awake provides audiences with an interesting concept that has unfortunately been executed badly.

My attention can be captured in a variety of ways and isn’t that difficult to capture either (I’ve been totally enthralled by Monsters, Inc. since its release, that should explain it) yet I genuinely found Awake to be a boring film. There doesn’t seem to be anything redeemable about it in the long run. It falls victim to too many elements of the filmmaking process being not up to power and that simply results in a film that can be frustrating to watch.

The most notable frustration with Awake is definitely the writing. From the beginning, I was already hoping it would improve somewhere along the way, however it didn’t at all. There isn’t actually any structure to this film; it is fast paced, much too fast, and there is no build up of character or the plot itself. There isn’t any stability in the story as the film just jumps from one scene to the next with no substance present. The apocalyptic-type situation isn’t given any context and is thrusted abruptly into a plot that hasn’t been effectively developed yet. There’s nothing for viewers to link with because no feeling can be established towards the characters or the struggles they are continuously experiencing.

The dialogue really doesn’t help the basis of the writing either as it sits uncomfortably in the air surrounding the characters. The words that leave their mouths are clunky and, a lot of the time, will horribly make your nose scrunch up due to how unnatural conversations come across. This isn’t necessarily anything to do with acting abilities, the cast give good performances especially with the sparse content they are given to work with, it’s the actual formation of the dialogue that will make you shiver.

I thought that maybe I was viewing Awake too harshly and I always want to be fair when giving any criticism but, to my dismay, there isn’t anything that has even slightly changed the stance that I hold. I pondered over the fact that maybe the characters are supposed to be underdeveloped to keep a sense of mystery – no, they are so underdeveloped that an openly mysterious approach frankly doesn’t work. I pondered over the fact that maybe the writing is meant to be chaotic, and the dialogue is meant to be awkward as a result of the increasing lack of sleep – no, the film is left with no spine whatsoever because of the writing of the plot, and some of the most awkward lines are delivered by the characters who can get some shuteye. It’s disappointing to realise that Awake could have ultimately been an amazing watch if the plot was strategically followed through and expanded upon to start with.

In summary, all I would like to say is this: hey Netflix, please stop spending money on incredibly mediocre films. It’s becoming an apparent waste of time in many forms and I am very much starting to give up on such releases. Many thanks, probably more than half of your platform users at this point.



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