Before I Go To Sleep – Review

October 21, 2014 2:32 pm

nicole kidmanI like a good thriller, I do. I normally gather plot devices quite quickly and watch for what the next turn in the story may be. I like to be fooled, however, and think highly of anything that tricks me or shocks me at the end.

Apart from Lost. That was ridiculous. Seriously? Made very little sense.

Anyway. Before I Go To Sleep, starring the ever classically beautiful Nicole Kidman as an amnesiac who literally forgets everything for the past fifteen or so years and wakes up stunned and frightened at forty, kind of hits the mark. It’s not the most thrilling thing you’ll ever see, but it is definitely worth its salt and is a good watch.  Colin Firth plays her other-half, the long-suffering man who has stood by her despite the fact she wakes up every morning and doesn’t recognise him, and Mark Strong plays Dr. Nash, her therapist who, without Firth’s character’s knowledge, has been treating her everyday, having to call her each morning to remind her of himself and go over everything they’ve already discovered.

It’s a very emotionally charged and interesting film. Kidman plays Christine, a woman who was attacked some years ago and from it, suffers with the inability to remember anything from the day before. She awakes every morning in a stranger’s bed and runs to the bathroom to think of an escape – only to find the bathroom wall covered in pictures of herself and the stranger lying next to her that morning, in wedding pictures and happy poses. When she re-enters the bedroom, the stranger identifies himself as Ben, her husband. Each day, he tirelessly explains her problem and outlines things for her and after he has gone to work, Dr. Nash calls her and himself goes through with her everything that she has forgotten. As she goes through each day keeping a video diary of everything recent in order to get some continuation in her life, she finds that she never knows quite who to trust.

I don’t wish to give away any spoilers here, as the film really is worth a look and needs to be judged for its own merits rather than merely on others’ criticism – it is a good enough film for me to say that. Kidman, once again, puts on her classic and flawless British accent, though is not overly convincing as a woman in such turmoil. Her acting, as always, is pleasing and unwooden enough, but I personally felt a few extra notes into the mix wouldn’t have gone amiss, to make her portrayal a tad more interesting.

Colin Firth and Mark Strong both play believable Are-They-Goodies-Are-They-Baddies. They dish out more of the simmering and on-the-edge character traits we have seen and come to appreciate in each of them before. I for one appreciated the slightly different slant on Colin Firth’s character in this film and it is impossible not to respect him as an actor of subtlety and conviction.

Before-I-Go-To-SleepThe plot itself builds slowly, but at a pace that lends itself to the subject matter. The twist and conclusion is not altogether unpredictable, but is executed in a good manner and keeps the audience attentive throughout.  The very end of the last scene could have been cut altogether to make a more convincing and lingering, longing moment to leave us with, but instead we are given a rather sappy moment that probably would have played out better in our imaginations than it took place on screen.

Not having read the book myself, I am sadly unable to tell you any differences or similarities – had I known there was a book, I probably would have attempted in vain to read it before going, and then gotten impatient and gone to see the film anyway.  I always recommend reading the book first anyway, and with the showings of this with not long now left, perhaps I may suggest read it first and then watch the movie?  However – you will then know the chilling twist at the end!

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