Shakespearean plays often had a character that come in and announce the offstage action. Maybe someone was hanged or got their head lopped off and rather then show it, a character would come in announce what happened. It’s still done, some actors make a fine living delivering exposition explaining what’s happening in the story.
Awake is a film that is almost entirely exposition. In this case, instead of a quirky friend or an excitable computer geek, the exposition is delivered by Edward, almost the only character in the story. This could be edgy and original, even interesting, Edward’s story could be good, but its not. It fails to be any of these things and instead it’s just slow.
Edward talks, sometimes he addresses the camera, sometimes he just opens his mouth to no one in particular. We find Edward in the middle of his story, a former chess champion, he’s now a mid level executive at a software firm His wife has left him and he spends his time wandering around performing the otherwise mundane tasks that you and I might do, but that make for a horrible movie. Potential conflict arises as we find that Edward is being threatened by Beck, a thug extorting trade secrets. Edwards melancholy makes him an easy target and he becomes more sullen and paranoid as the movie progresses.
Bently tries to create a film that externalizes the angst that Edward feels and shows how he emerges from his deep depression. Unfortunately there is no story to tell, Edwards talks, something happens and he feels better. That pretty much sums up the movie. Bently is successful at setting a morose, sometimes tense tone but that’s all, you can’t carry a seventy minute movie with one note.