Director Mark Raso explores the effects of not sleeping in Netflix's Awake. Global hysteria ensues after a mysterious catastrophe wipes out all electronics and takes away humanity's ability to sleep. Scientists race against the clock to find a cure for unexplained insomnia before its fatal effects eliminate the human race. Jill (Gina Rodriguez), a former soldier, discovers her young daughter may be the key to salvation. She must decide: protect her children at all costs or sacrifice everything to save the world.
Awake starts promising enough with an introduction to Jill at her nighttime security job. Before long, we witness Jill stealing pills, and it is clear she either is an addict or has a side hustle. The audience then learns that Jill lost custody of her kids Matlida (Ariana Greenblatt) and Noah (Lucius Hoyos). The kids are currently residing with Jill's overbearing former mother-in-law (Frances Fisher). As Jill is preparing to take the kids home, the event occurs, setting off a domino effect in Jill's life.
Jill's boss (Jennifer Jason Leigh) thinks she may have a cure and offers Jill the chance to work for her at a top-secret location, but Jill declines. Soon Jill must not only deal with crazed religious folks who think the world is ending but the dangers of sleeplessness at every turn. Will Jill protect her daughter, or will the effects of sleep deprivation take their toll?
There were times in my adult life when I stayed on the grind, juggling school part-time, a full-time job, and family time for my wife and son. During my busiest times, I was able to get by on four hours of sleep. However, the older I have gotten, the more I realized just how important sleep is. For those reasons alone, I was looking forward to the premise for Awake and wanted to see how director Mark Raso would handle the film.
Much to my dismay, Awake is not worth the viewing. Director Mark Raso and Joseph Raso rewrote a story from Gregory Poirier. While Gregory Poirier has delivered gems such as Rosewood and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, he also has stinkers like A Sound of Thunder and See Spot Run. Gina Rodriguez is a talented actress, and she deserves better than what the script gives her.
I will give Rodriguez credit for her believable performance as a widowed Veteran, and I understood her motivation as a parent. I was also fond of Barry Pepper as a local minister and rising talent Shamier Anderson as Dodge, a convict who comes to the aid of Jill and her family.
Outside of that, though, nothing in Awake kept my attention. In their roles as medical professionals, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Gil Bellows are both only here for a paycheck. While there is a resolution in the film, the handling of the ending was too mundane for my taste.
Awake does achieve one thing, though, serving as the perfect movie for filmgoers to fall asleep to.
Final Grade: D