Once again, I took on two random films that were suggested by my fellow Flickcharters. Figure out where you stand on this pair of thrillers about mortality and intrigue:
Until I saw Awake, I didn’t know that there was such a thing as “anesthesia awareness”. Apparently, it’s such a serious issue that there’s even an Anesthesia Awareness Campaign website. What happens is, the patient is supposed to be asleep while under anesthesia during a surgical procedure, but is actually conscious. The person is usually paralyzed and incapable of indicating their awareness to those performing the operation. Which, not surprisingly, is described as quite horrifying by those who have experienced it. Hayden Christensen is the unfortunate aware patient who is undergoing a heart transplant in the film:
It eventually turns out that there’s a plot to murder him and he can hear all the diabolical details because of the awareness thing. While he’s initially frantic about being conscious during surgery (the viewer can hear his thoughts), the prospect of being murdered becomes a bigger concern. I wasn’t expecting the movie to go in that direction. Instead, I thought the focus would be just on the psychological terror and feelings of helplessness that an aware patient experiences. Maybe something more akin to that Ryan Reynold‘s movie Buried. But that’s not quite how it plays out.
In Passengers, Anne Hathaway plays a counselor who is assigned to a group of plane crash survivors. Unlike with Awake, which at least dealt with a subject I hadn’t seen before in a movie, Passengers is all about familiar territory. I’d say that it wanders down three well-worn paths, though none of them that satisfyingly:
#1 Romance between a woman who has yet to embrace life with a man who almost died and wants to embrace life as much as possible.
#2 Paranoid thriller involving a cover-up by evil corporate types.
#3 Well, the last one I can’t really discuss without revealing too much. Not that it will be surprising to most viewers.
I think I could’ve accepted Passengers more if it was a combination of #1 and #2, without any of #3. I like Anne Hathaway, and so seeing her doing the romance thing mixed with a little cloak and dagger action would’ve been tolerable. I thought the last portion of Awake became a tad silly, but was outright agitated when I realized where Passengers was going.
Since it’s Monty Python member Eric Idle’s birthday today, and the two movies I discussed were about the fragile nature of our existence, I’ll leave you with this classic song from Life of Brian: