By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: #BeforeIgotosleep is a B thriller that delivers an intriguing premise, convincing acting, but also delivers inconceivable circumstances that stifle its potential.
The Gist: In London, a woman (Nicole Kidman) wakes up in her bed startled by a man who has her arm around her. She has no idea of who he is, but he is in reality – her husband (Colin Firth). Our protagonist suffers from amnesia caused by severe blows to her head. But who did this? Could it be her husband, her best friend, her doctor?
What Works: The talented and accomplished core cast composed of Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong do a wonderful job. She displays a wonderful range of emotions along with Firth himself. The script by director Rowan Joffe is very intriguing. It has the unhurried pace and mysterious atmosphere of another amnesiac movie – Memento by Christopher Nolan – and the intense internal struggle of remembrance by the familiar film character Jason Bourne from the Bourne Trilogy. Yet, Before I Go To Sleep plays itself as a dramatic, psychological thriller where the constant parts seem to always be moving and what seems obvious isn’t. Noticeable is how Joffe presents the film with a European aesthetic, one which is washed in grays and blue hues, along beautiful panoramic vistas of the countryside. He knows how to make an attractive film; it’s nice to look at and he provides a star cast that I enjoy seeing with an interesting story that rouses my curiosity.
What Doesn’t Work: If you had to point to the fumbling of the film, you can look at its second hour. Where the first hour of the movie gives us captivating and compelling exposition, the second hour overkills us with it. At some point, Joffe should have let things played out, but no, he kept on deliberating explanations to the point of redundancy. For example, how many times did we have to be exposed to Kidman’s grief of forgetting everything (we know this after an hour of pounding it into our heads), Firth’s dilemma and emotional toll on his wife’s amnesia, Mark Strong’s relentless concern. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how absurd the resolution is. The BIG reveal is laughable, similar to the way Liam Neeson’s Unknown ended. Ultimately, the exposition wore out its welcome and so did the film.
Pay or Nay? Nay. Apart form it’s potential and promise, Before I Go To Sleep disappoints. There are many better thrillers in release that you can watch such as Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal, John Wick starring Keanu Reeves, Gone Girl if you haven’t seen it already or even The Equalizer with Denzel Washington.
Rated: R for some brutal violence and language
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Screenplay: Rowan Joffe
Director(s): Rowan Joffe
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong
Distributor: Clarius Entertainment
Film Genre: Thriller