Directed by Jonas Elrod and Chloe Crespi, Wake Up is a new documentary being privately screened throughout 2010 and into 2011. The summary from the film’s website is an adequate plot description, as follows:
Jonas Elrod was leading an ordinary life until he woke up one day to a totally new reality. He suddenly could see and hear angels, demons, auras and ghosts.
The documentary movie WAKE UP follows this fascinating story of an average guy who inexplicably developed the ability to access other dimensions. Physicians gave him a clean bill of health and were unable to provide an explanation. What was it? Why was it happening to him? One thing was certain for this 36-year old man – life as he had known it would never be the same.
With his loving but skeptical girlfriend by his side, Jonas crisscrosses the country as he searches for answers and delves deeper into this thrilling world of the phenomenal and spiritual. Along the way, he encounters an amazing group of religious teachers, scientists, mystics and spiritual healers who help him piece together this intricate puzzle.
I saw this film at the Rhine Research Center’s special screening on Friday, January 7th, 2011. Elrod’s journey is intriguing, but, in truth, the fascinating aspect to his story is that he does see beings and images of light that almost all of us do not see. This is the primary interest of the film, but, unfortunately, the filmmakers chose to focus very little on this unique phenomenon. Instead, the film becomes a rambling journey across America and Italy where Elrod meets mystics, healers, and wise spiritual mentors. They give him advice, certainly, but the focus on the details of the journey is tedious at times, and the wisdom imparted is not necessarily eye-opening or new to someone who has been on any sort of a spiritual path. The film becomes a hodge-podge of individual beliefs that are quite loosely held together by Elrod’s physical journey as he searches for meaning.
The documentary needs a stronger thread, and it needs to focus more on the uniquely unusual aspects of his spiritual awakening. If he did have a spiritual awakening that was linked to the death of his best friend, if he does see auras, angels, and demons, if he does experience the world in a way that most of us do not, then let us see and understand that. Is this a gift that he will use to help others? If so, in what ways will he be able to help others? The film is disappointing in that it strays from this one thing of interest – this one thing that is unique to Elrod – and instead it leads the audience on a journey that any one of us could take – and perhaps, in our own ways, have already taken.