UK Release Date: 5th September 2014
Runtime: 92 minutes
Director: Rowan Joffé
Writer: Rowan Joffé
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff
Synopsis: An amnesiac woman wakes up every day with no memory of who she or anyone else is. With no memory of her own to work with, who can she trust?
Amnesia is a common idea in thriller movies, from Memento to the Bourne franchise. Adapted from SJ Watson’s novel by Brighton Rock director Rowan Joffé, Before I Go to Sleep is the latest in a long line of amnesiac thrillers. Nicole Kidman leads an A-list cast in a twisty-turny tale that boasts huge surprises.
Christine Lucas (Kidman) wakes up every morning with no memory of anything that came before. Her husband Ben (Colin Firth) explains the situation afresh every morning. But following a mysterious call from Dr Nasch (Mark Strong) and the appearance of “friend” Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), it seems that Christine’s world is even more complex than she thinks it is.
Before I Go to Sleep is a very simple thriller. It piles preposterous on top of preposterous to concoct a story that is ridiculous to the nth degree, but never anything other than incredibly entertaining.
| "You have problems remembering things."
Nicole Kidman does a great job in the lead role. Her vulnerability and controlled bafflement anchors the story of Before I Go to Sleep beautifully, with her increasing knowledge of her circumstances teased out slowly as the film progresses.
Colin Firth and Mark Strong complete the triple-header with a pair of solid and mysterious performances. It seems likely that at least one of the two is deceiving Christine, but both have an equally sinister undercurrent to their portrayals that makes it very difficult to tell who is being deceptive.
The film doesn’t quite hang together and it’s perhaps a little too silly for its own good, but there’s plenty to enjoy anyway. It’s tough to care too much about plot holes when the film continues to serve up a rich banquet of thrills. Every time the audience gets a sure footing on the rug, Before I Go to Sleep pulls it out from under them.
| "He says he’s protecting you, but don’t trust him."
Despite the strong performances and the powerful sense of fun, Before I Go to Sleep does suffer from taking its winding plot a little too far. Some story threads are seemingly abandoned, whilst others are tied up meticulously. For all of its fun and shock value, it’s forgotten by its audience almost as quickly as Christine forgets her day.
Pop or Poop?
With a trio of stunning performances from acting royalty at its heart, Before I Go to Sleep is one of the more entertaining thrillers of the year.
It doesn’t always work, with some of the film stretching too far into ridiculousness and a few loose ends ruining the thriller plot.
It’s far from perfect, but as a slice of popcorn cinema, Before I Go to Sleep really delivers.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.