by / September 6th, 2014 /

Before I Go to Sleep

Review by on September 6th, 2014

 3/5 Rating

Directors: Rowan Joffé
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Anne-Marie Duff
Certificate: 15A
Running Time: 92mins
Release Date: September 5th

When Christine Lucas (Kidman) wakes up every morning she is instantly transported back to a state of mind somewhere in her mid-twenties. She cant remember anything after that point in her life due to a severe head injury she suffered in her mid-thirties. Her husband Ben (Firth) is left with the daily task of informing her what happened and how it affects her. She is lost in a world, in which she should feel at home, but doesnt. In an effort to find out exactly what happened and hopefully regain some control she has engaged the services of a neurological psychologist, Dr Nash (Strong). While this may seem like a good idea, it opens a door into her mind that may prove too much to handle in her disoriented state as she uncovers memories of how she was injured and who may be responsible.

Based on a novel by S.J. Watson this is very much a Hitchcock style delivery from Joffé and his cast. Initially, the very disorientated character of Christine and the explanation she receives from husband Ben draws in the audience. As we delve further into the muddied waters of Christines brain, the open doors lead to more confusion for the protagonist; the problem being Kidmans face can hardly move so try as she may she ultimately fails to deliver the emotional impact necessary to make it fully work. That said, Firth is more than competent as husband Ben who is clearly frustrated by the couples situation. There is a rage bubbling underneath and Firth makes the audience believe he is capable of losing the rag at any moment. Tying it all up is the always reliable Mark Strong who strolls through the role of Dr. Nash selling the audience a very empathetic but unfortunately incomplete character. There is an interaction between his and Kidmans character that is never quite followed up on.

It is this sort of element, incomplete character arc, that really takes away form a polished piece of filmmaking. The running time is only 92 minutes but there is a sense that a little more exploration and explanation would have given the audience a whole lot more to work with and invest in. Another disappointing element is the attempt to derive gasps from sudden changes in atmosphere; a character nearly getting hit by a truck or a car swerving to avoid a bag. These are pointless moments as the movie feels much more enjoyable as a psychological thriller, than a cheap thrills effort, as they only serve to change the tone of what the audience is supposed to be feeling. The camera work is pretty decent throughout with some nice flashback sequences and the score works for the psychological thriller it wants to be.

Overall youll most likely leave the cinema feeling like something has been left behind, but that doesnt mean its not enjoyable, especially when youre staring at Kidmans face wondering if the botox will allow her to crack a full smile, or frown, as the moment requires. Not the best, not the worst, just not as good as it could be.