Just because an idea looks good on paper doesn’t mean that it is going to translate to the silver screen with any reasonable expectation of quality. “Before I Go To Sleep” is an interesting premise that ultimately gets handled with the cheap sensibilities of a mediocre and cookie cutter studio film that got spit out of a machine and is lacking in any genuine originality.
It’s the worst scenario that you could ever possibly imagine and would never wish on anyone. Christine (Nicole Kidman) wakes up every day with no memory of what has happened to her, the result of a traumatic accident in her past. With the help of her doctor (Mark Strong) she begins to teach herself and leave herself clues on what her life used to be, but the more she begins to remember the more terrifying new truths begin to emerge that make her question everything she thinks she knows about her life as well as everyone in it, including her doctor and even her husband (Colin Firth).
With an A list cast and a writer/director with a pretty damn good track record, everything about “Before I Go To Sleep” screams that it should be a pretty interesting little crime thriller, but it just doesn’t work. It telegraphs too much and has far too many twists and turns with characters we just don’t give a damn about.
Rowan Joffe in only his second theatrical directorial effort can certain shoot a slick looking little movie and having written things like “The American” and “28 Weeks Later” so he knows how to handle action but it really feels like he has bitten off more than he can chew. The premise which in and of itself is a bit ludicrous just doesn’t get sold hard enough to us as an audience in order to buy into it. The characters are a little one dimensional and it is the kind of story where we know where we are going by about the 1/3 mark of the movie and it makes the back 2/3rds kind of dull even at the best of times as we can see the ending coming from a mile away. Despite the strength and hard work of the three leads, there just isn’t enough meat on the bones of the narrative for it to go anywhere.
There’s no doubt that Nicole Kidman can carry a movie with the best of them and she makes her broken and fragile Christine who is trying to reassemble the shards of her life as best she can a half decent and compelling movie heroine, her hard work is betrayed by a predicable story while the usually great Colin Firth is seemingly phoning it on the other end of the spectrum and he can’t carry the big revel at the end because the build to it is just so weak. Mark Strong is just on the outside looking in really no else even registers in this effort as it just plays in far too underwhelming of a fashion.
In my mind, a film like “Before I Go To Sleep” is guilty of the worst cinematic crime possible, it’s not that bad and it is far from good landing in a place that is unforgiveable. It is just forgettable and really damn dull.
1 out of 5 stars.
“Before I Go To Sleep” is now playing at theatres everywhere, please check with listings for show times.