When Netflix surfaces a new original movie that shoots up its top 10 list, it’s anyone’s guess whether it will be great or terrible, given that there’s no indication within the app itself, and you’ll be forced to Google articles like this one to figure it out ahead of time.
Well, I’ve got a clear recommendation for you in the case of Awake, the seemingly algorithm-created “I see you liked Jane the Virgin and Bird Box” combination film that stars Gina Rodriguez weathering a very specific type of apocalypse.
Rodriguez is Jill, a single mother whose life gets infinitely more complicated when something happens to knock out power to nearly every bit of electronics across the planet. The application of this is pretty inconsistent, as at times they say it’s “anything with a microchip,” but it seems much broader than that.
That’s not the main problem, however. Sure, a mass power outage would have a wild amount of complications and probably destroy society on its own to a certain extent, but the real issue is the fact that everyone soon discovers that no one can sleep anymore, hence the title of the movie.
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With everyone awake 24 hours a day, the lack of power becomes secondary to the fact that the entire planet will die off in a few weeks. And in the meantime, everyone begins to lose their minds as part of the “side effects” of having no sleep, which is loosely based on science, I suppose, but the film goes wild places rather quickly with “accelerated” symptoms for reasons that remain unexplained.
The leap between the power going out and also no one being able to sleep is pretty jarring and not explained until much, much later (and still not explained that well at all). Jill finds herself with a young daughter who miraculously can still sleep, and this turns into a Children of Men situation with a sought-after child who scientists want to study and lunatics want to sacrifice to God.
Apocalypse-by-insomnia is actually not the worst concept I’ve ever heard, and less silly than Bird Box’s “we can’t go outside without a blindfold” idea, but the execution simply isn’t there. The movie bucks wildly from one contrived situation to another and the “lack of sleep” acting among the entire cast just comes off as goofy. And the final explanations for what exactly happened and what the secret sleeping solution is just…does not land in the least, and will make you angry for sticking with the film to that point.
I get that “hyper-specific apocalypse conditions” are all the rage after A Quiet Place, but simply put, no one has been able to match that since, and Netflix, somehow managing to make Bird Box a hit (even though that wasn’t great either) can’t pull the same trick twice with Awake. Even at barely 90 minutes, I can’t recommend it. Go watch Shadow and Bone instead.
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Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2021/06/11/netflixs-awake-is-exhausting-to-watch/1383