Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays a man who may or may not be a serial killer in “Awake,” a thriller that promises to start quickly and find a fresh twist or two by the end, and fails at both.
We meet his character on a rural Oklahoma road, see him chased by a Land Rover and run off that road. When he wakes up, covered in bandages and in the hospital, he can’t remember who he is.
But a tippling FBI agent (Malik Yoba of TV’s “First Wives Club”) and his old pal, a local sheriff (veteran character actor William Forstythe) find a body in the guy’s trunk. “John Doe” might be the guy killing all these girls along the Texas/Oklahoma border.
“John” barely has enough time to register all this, and certainly doesn’t have the time to charm his nurse (Francesca Eastwood) into helping him escape.
“Whatta you suggest I do? Go to the PO-lice? Oh, they’ll help me…all the way to a lethal INJECTION!”
She becomes his hostage. He forgets his accent. And they’re on the run from the PO-lice, hunting for “the real killer,” just like OJ.
Yoba and Forsythe have an easy chemistry, playing old pals who refuse to judge each other (drinking on the job, etc.).
“What you think of me is none of my damn business!”
Eastwood makes a pretty convincing nurse, earthy and warm. The part is undemanding, even when the script makes far-fetched leaps for her character to cross. She’s a bit too “real” though — bland. There’s little here that suggests the intuition that must be why she buys into this guy’s “I can’t have done this.”
Meyers generally gives fair value, and he does a passable job of suggesting “frantic” even as this “John” fellow betrays an instinctive revulsion for harming others. There’s no chemistry between the two. Perhaps Meyers is wary of her old man.
“Awake” serves up a decent tussle or two, an awful murder and a few righteous kills. As the picture progresses, it almost draws one in — eventually.
But then the finale, all flashback “explanations” and actions we see coming long before they play out, finishes the job the dead early chapters started.
MPAA Rating: unrated, bloody violence
Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Francesca Eastwood, Malik Yoba, Jamews Austin Kerr and William Forsythe
Credits: Directed by Aleksandr Chernyaev, Fedor Lyass, script by Elana Zeltser. A Cinedigm release.
Running time: 1:30