“Before I Go To Sleep” a Tantalizing Mystery Thriller (Film Review)



Keeping it weird for Halloween, the movie Before I Go to Sleep opens in theaters on October 31.  The movie stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth in a very off beat story about a woman who’s an amnesiac, someone who has memory loss as a result of shock or a traumatic injury. If you like films that tantalize get very suspenseful and shocking with the flavor of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, make your Hallows Eve this movie mystery.

Christine (Nicole Kidman) wakes each morning in bed with her husband Ben (Colin Firth) every day.  Each day Ben has to tell her that he’s her husband and that he really loves her to make her at ease with him. He tells why she does not remember anything from the day before because she has suffered a horrific accident resulting in a form of amnesia that wipes out her memory when she goes to sleep.

Nicole Kidman as Christine in Before I Go To Sleep

Nicole Kidman as Christine in Before I Go To Sleep

One day after Ben has left for his job as a teacher in a local high school academy, she gets a call from Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) a psychologist who specialized in her kind of illness.  He tells her to go to her wardrobe and look for a camera in a box she has hidden from Ben.  She gets the camera and plays back the video showing what she has gone through the previous day.  When he asks her to keep recording each day for playback, a mystery starts to unravel that will take her to a place in her mind that will change her life forever.

Ben (Colin Firth) goes over the day before with Christine (Kidman)

Ben (Colin Firth) goes over the day before with Christine (Kidman)

Screenwriter and director Rowan Joffe keeps his film fast paced, but revealing Christine’s plight with small steps.  He keeps his film suspenseful and intriguing as each day enlightens viewers on Christine’s past and contributes toward his shocking finale.  The real mystery gets nicely hidden allowing the audience to try and figure out each scene and how the lies will bring about the truth of her amnesia and the unexplained life she has led prior to the accident.

I like the performance by Kidman as the person with memory loss who has to deal each day with getting crumbs of her past.  But, it’s Firth who makes the most of his character in a performance that’s at first kindhearted and then a bit off-beat as he tries to hide the truth that would destroy their relationship.  The chemistry between the two makes the film work however, but wrestling with the difficult storyline does take its toll in the end.

Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) talks face to face with Christine (Kidman)

Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) talks face to face with Christine (Kidman)

The movie is not without a downside and it’s something the audience will have to accept in order to enjoy the mystery thriller.  Weak and dotted with some obvious plot holes, allowing predictability at the beginning of the finale and revealing the past with flashes from Christine’s past haphazardly, lessens the final outcome.

Before I Go to Sleep is rated R by the MPAA for some brutal violence and language. The film also contains nudity during the opening scene. Hmm, was it Kidman or her double’s bare derriere? The brutality looks very real and may disturb those that are meek or have had past trauma.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Not the best production of a Hitchcock type thriller, but entertaining just the same.  (C+ )

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff
Directed and Screen Writer: Rowan Joffe
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for some brutal violence and language
Running Time: 1 hr 32 min
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Distributed by: Clarius Entertainment

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