Directed and co-written by Daniel Benmayor, Awareness sets its sights on being a cerebral thriller which mashes the reality-distorting science fiction of Inception with the stylish action of John Wick. The plot follows protagonist Ian (Carlos Scholz), a teenager who has the power to psychically project illusions at people by looking at them, whether that be convincing a shopkeeper that he has a gun or making a police officer believe they’ve been caught in an apocalyptic hailstorm. He and his father (Pedro Alonso) are quickly tracked down by a shady organisation known as The Agency who wish to recruit him to help them wipe out the last remnant of The Awareness, an elite team of spies possessing the same powers as Ian. Caught in the crossfire, the teenager is thrown from both sides of the conflict while attempting to uncover the secrets of his past.
While the plot unfolds at a breakneck pace, with double-crosses and twists coming at every other turn, the script is a clumsy mess of exposition and sci-fi jargon. Rather than being gradually introduced to this secretive world of psychic spies, every other scene has a character explain various pieces of terminology and background to the audience in painstaking levels of detail. Despite committed performances from the cast, the film’s need to overexplain everything substantially drags the action down at several points.
As far as sci-fi premises go, Awareness has a strong one, with the opening sequence giving a taster of the reality-warping antics that viewers can expect. Aside from a handful of interesting ideas, however, the flick doesn’t make the most out of its Inception inspirations. The illusions are used so frequently that it becomes far too easy to distinguish what is real and what isn’t, and that spoils a lot of the fun.
The action scenes, too, are disappointingly lacklustre in their execution. The snappy fight scenes mimic the style seen in the likes of John Wick and Nobody but lack the spark that made those films work. In comparison, the action here feels floaty and doesn’t carry the same visceral impact as its peers.
For its intriguing premise and invested performances, Awareness unfortunately stumbles in its attempt to deliver a compelling sci-fi thriller.
Awareness is released on Prime Video on 11th October 2023.
Watch the trailer for Awareness here: