Monday, December 3, 2007
Anakin's Back—And He's AWAKE!
by Jim Ridley
on Mon, Dec 3, 2007 at 2:25 PM
. After the jump.
A medical thriller with a noggin full of novocaine, this shocker about botched heart surgery evidently suffered brain surgery to match. Think of writer-director Joby Harold’s autopsy-turvy tale as The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
with a high-concept lobotomy. Instead of some wheezy old Romanian dude descending the lower depths of health-care hell, we get doe-eyed Hayden Christensen as the world’s most naïve billionaire and unlikely heart-transplant candidate, whose troubles begin when “anesthesia awareness” leaves him conscious but paralyzed and unable to scream as doc Terrence Howard revs up the ol’ bonesaw.
That would be contrivance enough for most thrillers. But factor in blushing bride Jessica Alba, suspicious mom Lena Olin and sinister cardio czar Arliss Howard—not to mention astral projection, supernatural visits, repressed memories, not one but two pivotal heart transplants and the mother of all cheap-trick framing devices—and you’ve got a movie that sucks far more than it inhales. Harold’s glum overplotting squashes the sick humor and the innate fear of hospitals that gives the horror-comics premise what kick it has; not even Craig McKay’s clever editing can defibrillate the preposterous ending. Even at 78 minutes, though, this definitely communicates a sense of anesthesia awareness—at least to your ass.
This week on Not Screened at Press Time Theater: