Awake is the newest addition to Netflix’s ever-expanding series of dystopian thrillers. Gina Rodriguez plays Jill, a former soldier turned drug dealer who has taken custody of her two children, Matilda and Noah, to their grandmother.
According to the summary, “global pandemonium erupts as a mystery calamity wipes out all gadgets and robs humankind of its capacity to sleep.” Scientists are racing against the clock to discover a treatment for inexplicable sleeplessness before its devastating consequences wipe out the human race.
Gina Rodriguez’s Netflix Thriller Awake Worth Watching
“When Jill discovers that her small girl may hold the key to redemption, she must choose whether to protect her children at all costs or to risk all to save the world.” Insomnia is an illness that has been explored multiple times in cinema; it is rich in metaphoric meaning and practical ramifications, and it produces excellent film material.
The novel idea of Awake, that sleeplessness might attack everyone at once, is first incredibly thrilling. Of course, the opposite has occurred in real life: episodes of fainting that fascinate communities are a phenomena that has been portrayed in cinema (for example, 2014’s The Falling, starring Maisie Williams).
There has also been a recent outbreak of widespread sleeplessness. The stress of the global health crisis has resulted in an increase in insomnia, albeit tiredness is also a symptom. Sleep is so important to our existence that it is one of the first things to change when we are stressed.
So, of course, the prospect of not being able to sleep during the cataclysmic event of the world’s electronics collapsing is terrifying. Unfortunately, Awake exposes its full hand: everyone turns murderously insane, fueled by exhaustion-based delusions and the basic survival urge.
It barely takes 26 minutes (approximately 24 hours in the movie’s true timeframe) for churchgoers to propose offering Matilda to God. Why is this so? God offered up Jesus as a sacrifice. That makes perfect sense!
When it comes to Jesus, the religious messaging is somewhat heavy-handed. To delve into the visuals and overt symbolism of the closing scene would be to ruin the picture, but if you want to know what we’re referring to, you may read our closing explanation.
Throughout, though, should be the tale of Jill’s redemption, since her life never completely got back on track following her traumatic experience in the army (which she mentions only in a passing comment). To stay within its mercifully brief one-hour, 35-minute running length, Awake skips over major character development moments in favour of efficiency.
The simplest explanation is that sleeplessness causes a quick decline in critical thinking capabilities, which we presume is correct but doesn’t add much to the feeling of drama. It also doesn’t offer us a sense of hope.
Yes, Matilda is supposed to become the cure, but you wouldn’t understand why – or even if she is until the very end, rendering it a very bleak endeavour.
Along with this, there is tremendous violence: curb-stomping on people’s heads, and someone being shot at close range through the eye. Set against the film’s typically cold tones, the gore is out of place and shocking, but not in a way that feels intentional.
Unfortunately, Rodriguez doesn’t have enough to work with to let us empathise with or care about Jill’s character.
Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt) is at least less obnoxious than some other youngsters in apocalyptic flicks in that she never intentionally or even mistakenly endangers anyone while attempting to do something nice.
If you’d like to watch a movie depicting humankind on the verge of extinction, there are so many better options: Children of Men (an excellent film), Greenland, and even Bird Box (if you want something a little more trashy in a nice way) are all better alternatives for examining humanity’s probable dying moments. Awake is only a snore (we couldn’t resist). Netflix has made Awake available for viewing.
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