Awake (2021)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Mark Raso
Run Time
1 hour and 36 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★3.5 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

 For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. 

Mark 13:19
Jill & her 2 children must evade the military & cops if they are to find a cure for the world-wide insomnia. (c) Netflix

Director Mark Raso and his co-writer/ brother Joseph differ radically from Jesus’s view of the end of the world in Mark. The latter sees the end as part of God’s scheme of things, whereas for the filmmakers it is a natural ocurence. But they agree on one point,  “there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation…”

Jill (Gina Rodriguez) is an ex-Army medic and recovering addict trying to earn a living to support her two children currently living with her mother-in-law. She has a bright 10-year-old daughter Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt) and an embittered teenage son Noah (Lucius Hoyos). She is working as a security guard at a secret government laboratory headed Dr. Murphy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) when catastrophe hits the world.

A solar flare short circuits all machinery and equipment so that the world grinds to a halt, as in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Far worse, people’s brain circuitry is fried so that no one can fall asleep. Well, almost no one. The old woman taken into custody at the lab is able, and so is Matilda. Ordinarily Jill might take her daughter to the lab so that Dr. Murphy can examine her in her search for a cure to the deadly insomnia—sleep deprivation leads to exhaustion and foggy thinking and eventually to death—but during her Army service as a medic Jill had seen the scientist, then working in Army Intelligence, use torture on prisoners to achieve her goals, so she decides to flee the city with the children tow, despite Noah’s resentment.

Mankind has just a few days to find a cure, and already many have gone mad and panicked. Hence the trio’s journey is fraught with great danger. She closely guards the secret of Matilda’s ability sleep lest soldiers seize her. Along the way they pick up the escaped convict named Dodge (Shamier Anderson), who turns out to be a real asset.

The film adds a new twist to the end of the world genre, and for the most part is well written and acted out. The qualification is due to a section that is both one of the most dramatic and yet least believable portions of the movie. It involves the pastor (Barry Pepper) of a fundamentalist church that gets hold of Matilda. He soon whips up the passion of the congregation so that they are willing, no, eager, to offer her as a sacrifice to propitiate God. Jill has to really enter into Mama Bear mode to rescue her child. Now really, I know fundamentalists talk and sing a lot about the “power of the blood,” but this bit of nonsense merely fuels the belief of some evangelical Christians that Hollywood is waging a war on them.

Almost compensating for the church scene is the one in which Dodge shares a bit of wisdom with Jill: “You know, my grandmama, you know what she used to tell me? That all the world’s problems could disappear in one generation if every kid grew up forgetting all the shit they were taught, the shit that doesn’t make sense, but you’re taught it enough times you believe it. Then we could actually live in a world where no one is starving… and everyone’s equal.”

But of course, it will also have to be a world in which people can fall asleep. Will Jill be able to prevent the demise of the human race?

The film is an interesting commentary on the state of our nation’s mental health. It is a hotly debated topic for those on the left and the right concerned about government funding, or the lack thereof. In the film many who have been on the brink of madness, fall over the precipice, running amuck in the streets. It is definitely not as bad as some critics have maintained, but no classic either. Still. Worth you time, especially if you want a film with a strong female protagonist.

No questions for this film.

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