Film Review: Before I Go To Sleep (2014)

“You have problems remembering things”

I do like a psycho-thriller and Rowan Joffé’s adaptation of SJ Watson’s novel Before I Go To Sleep from 2014 offers up a good example of the genre (with a great poster campaign too), if a little formulaic by the end. Nicole Kidman’s Christine wakes up every morning not knowing who or where she is. The man next to her (an excellently confounding Colin Firth) says he is her husband Ben and explains that she had an accident ten years ago which left her brain-damaged and unable to remember things beyond the day she recalls them. 

Consultant neurologist Dr Nasch (the inscrutable Mark Strong) is helping her though, providing her with a video camera to record her thoughts and mark any progress, with him calling her every morning to remind her to watch the video, and piece by piece, she begins to uncover the truth not just about what happened to her in the past but also what is happening in the future. Joffé does well at showing the claustrophobia of Christine’s existence, unable to really discern between help and hindrance in those who say they are protecting her, and a real sense of menace is present throughout.

Kidman is powerfully effective as the disturbed Christine, unsure about anything and grasping onto the shards of memory that start to flash back to her so tightly she bleeds. Strong and Firth both manage to be enigmatic about their true intentions until the key moments and there’s an excellent cameo from a deeply compassionate Anne-Marie Duff as Christine’s friend Claire who has been off the scene for a while and holds the key to some crucial revelations. Ed Sheramur’s score sets the mood well and it all does well until the ending which for me, cops out a bit. Worth a watch though. 

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