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Wide Awake

Film Two Stars

This documentary sounded really interesting, a filmmaker examining his problems with sleeping that he's lived with almost all his adult life. It sounded very unusual and a self examination made me think it might be quite insightful.

Unfortunately it seemed to be too concerned with style and filling scenes with clever footage than following some form of story arc.

That was a big shame because there are some really strong moments in the film, particularly where he's carrying out some self examination or discussing the issue and looking for solutions with the Doctors.

Yet it falls short of being something more complete because it doesn't go far enough, preferring to concentrate on the exploration of the problem and not evolve to some examination and resolution.

At times it felt to hand holding with the use of repetition to reinforce a point, and at others quite expositional. There was a feeling of being talked to or lectured and there was little for my brain to do.

Apart from these tools the filmmaker also uses old footage throughout the film to hammer home points in the film. I found this overused and quite distracting. At times it even felt as though I was being held back from the film.

What also didn't work for me was the man himself, I found him to be dislikeable and irritating, clearly his wife and family do which is shown when he repeatedly harasses his wife with the camera. He thinks it's a game but she, heavily pregnant, clearly does not. Self obsessed and unaware of anything but his film he continues.

That said there are some interesting points in the film, the coffee experiment not only injects life into the man but also into the film. It's a great moment set against the dreariness of the man and the film. If only the first half had focussed on the condition, we spent some time on the multiple diagnosis and then looked at his attempts to remedy the situation finally reaching a conclusion. For me that would have been a much better documentary and it would have led somewhere, shown us something and let us leave with some enlightenment.

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