Mediocre thriller ‘Awake’ could put you to sleep


Mediocre thriller 'Awake' could put you to sleep

TUCSON, Ariz. — If you’re the kind of person who uses Netflix as a cinematic lullaby, ‘Awake’ might be just what you’re looking for.

Released on the streaming service Wednesday, the stodgy apocalyptic thriller takes an intriguing premise and lets it fall gently to sleep over the course of 92 minutes.

Gina Rodriguez plays Jill, an army veteran at Fort Huachuca who struggles to protect her family when she learns that all the electronics in the world are turned off and no one can sleep.

Jill’s daughter, Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt), is one of the few people on Earth who can still sleep, making her the target of some shadowy government figures.

As she battles the effects of her own insomnia, Jill uses her survival skills to hold on to life amid global chaos.

Almost the entire weight of the film falls on Rodriguez, a charismatic presence best known for starring in rom-com “Jane the Virgin”, who seems to be beyond her depth here. The shift to a grim, gloomy survivalist is awkward.

The supporting cast is meager and underused. Jennifer Jason Leigh kind of pops up as a psychiatrist handing out exhibits, and Barry Pepper is a world-weary pastor who offers a glimmer of hope as he grapples with his own waning mental capacity.

Lucius Hoyos plays Noah, Jill’s teenage son, who doesn’t appreciate his mother’s heroic efforts.

Rodriguez takes center stage in almost every scene, which ends up being a slow, gruff march of frustration she wears on her face. It’s easy to be sympathetic because the movie makes you feel the same way.

Director Mark Raso (“Kodachrome”) goes for a grim atmosphere along the lines of “The Walking Dead” and “A Quiet Place,” but there isn’t enough plot to move the story forward. The film seems to be a pilot for a show that will not be picked up.

“Awake” has a few invigorating moments, but not enough to keep your lids from drooping or the yawns from kicking in.

RATING: 2 stars out of 4.
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