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Stars: Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Terrence Howard, Lena Olin, Christopher McDonald, Arliss Howard, Sam Robards, Fisher Stevens

Director: Joby Harold

Apparently, thousands of people each year suffer from 'anasthesia awareness', a condition which means that, despite looking out for the count, they know what's going on, and can suffer terrible pain.

Clay Beresford (Christensen) has the condition, though he doesn't know it yet. Only in his 20s, but one of America's richest men, he's waiting for a heart transplant. He's also in love with Sam (Alba), the shapely PA to his mother (Olin), but hasn't plucked up the courage to tell the formidable matriarch about it.
Clay further angers her by deciding on his friend Jack (Terrence Howard) to perform the operation, when he can afford the finest in the country.

It all happens at once: Clay tells Mom about Sam and they get married against her wishes. A heart becomes available in the same 24 hours. But, as soon as Clay 'goes under' on the operating table, he realises that all is not what it should be.

It wouldn't be fair to the film to reveal more, save that it isn't quite clear why the plot's guilty parties feel compelled to make a run for it at the end. Still, there are a good few twists - plus surgical procedures not recommended to anyone who finds it hard to watch Casualty or ER - and all the clues are there, though I must admit I only picked up on one or two.

The action drags quite a bit towards the end, especially in a conversation between an 'out of body' Clay and his mother - and of course it's all pretty unlikely, even if you'll probably want to stick around to see who gets caught and how. The director allows the gorgeous Alba to stretch her acting legs a bit, but doesn't neglect to get her into a wet T-shirt for a bathtub snogging scene.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Icon. Eastman Colour by Kodak.
83 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 30 Mar 2008