Film Review: The Awakening (2011)
My Rating: 5 craft beers on a 6-pack scale.
Runtime: 107 mins
Directed by: Nick Murphy
Writers: Stephen Volk, Nick Murphy
Stars: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton
Note: English language film, a UK production.
So I write this a day after watching The Awakening. Looking at the film a day later I almost wonder at my initial high rating. Perhaps too high in fact. When compared to the IMDP and Metascore ratings I see I’m indeed a little elevated. Perhaps my 5 craft beer score has more to do with the fact that I was on my 5th beer by the end of the movie and again I’m on my 5th brew as I write this now. Perhaps. I’m sticking with the rating however so here we go.
IMDB The Awakening
There will be no spoilers so don’t worry. Really this review is my impression and not a justification piece to point out what worked and what failed. This film was pretty darn good. The thing that’s quite possibly the most scary is the screen presence of Dominic West. I try to not like him. I try really, really hard. But I can’t. Even when I think about him in Centurion (as a very unbelievable Roman general with a terrible, terrible accent) and The 300 (as a douchebag politician who…well he nailed this one actually) I just don’t like his work very much. But in The Awakening he’s pretty darn good as a cross between a lead and a supporting actor. I wish we got a little more about his story, but we got what we got, which was enough to move the story along.
Rebecca Hall was good simply because she wasn’t over-the-top annoying. She was beyond annoying in The Town (my previous reference film concerning the actress) and I wasn’t thrilled to see she was in this but she managed to not suck so she was therefore good enough. It was hard sometimes to hear exactly what she was saying but thankfully I had the subtitles on so I could more easily follow what she was saying despite much of it probably being better off as internal narrative. I have to say that I’m 36 and not hard of hearing. West came in lough and clear so the subtitles were not needed throughout. Hall just needs to speak up a bit. Maybe it wasn’t that bad…but I think it was.
So there is a little blood (in like one rather super violent scene), a little less blood in another violent scene, and a couple of places where you may be a little scared but not royally so (in my opinion). Oh, and you see a boob and thusly the film is rated “R.” What really drew me into the film was the setting as a period piece (set in 1921). The Awakening takes place just three-years or so after the First World War and it did a pretty good job of conveying the psychological scars of a nation with wounds that are far from healed. To have a generation or two erased from existence due to the horrors of war is a pretty heavy burden for a people to carry. England is a country of people that want ghosts to exist because there are so many loved ones now absent.
Is this a lights out scary movie? No. Not at all really. What’s best about The Awakening is that it isn’t a super clichéd slasher, buckets of blood, screamfest. Nope. It’s just an entertaining thriller with some rather solid acting (West) and a pretty good ending that made me think I should have seen it coming but didn’t. I like films that surprise me and The Awakening did so. It’s worth a watch but perhaps my 5-craft beer rating was too high. I may change it tomorrow. I’ll sleep on it.
“HARD TO PUT DOWN!”
“GRABS HOLD AND DOESN’T LET GO.”