Exciting and tense mystery about a woman with no memory.9/10
The film opens with a woman, played by Nicole Kidman, waking up in bed with a man. She seems disconcerted and confused. Entering the bathroom, she encounters photos of the two of them. Leaving the bathroom, she sees the man, played by Colin Firth, who is now sitting on the bed. He tells her that they are married but that she had an accident, and that she can no longer retain memories more than a day. Mr Firth then goes off to work, and Miss Kidman is then phoned by a man, played by Mark Strong, who says he is her doctor, helping her to get her memory back. He instructs her to find a hidden camera, which she does, and finds that she has filmed herself, to leave messages to herself.
These are the opening scenes of the film which are also in the trailers too. Thus the film looked exciting and worth going to see. Which it is. The source material for the film is a 2011 novel by SJ Watson. This debut novel may be applauded, as may the film, however both are really not that original.
It may be recalled that in 'Total Recall' (1990), a humble construction-worker, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, has a wife, played by Sharon Stone. A little bored, Mr Schwarzenegger goes on a mental holiday as a secret-agent, only to find that he really is a secret-agent. He finds this out, when escaping the bad guys, he finds a film of himself, telling himself, that very thing.
It may also be remembered that in Memento (2000), Guy Pearce also played a guy with no memory. This memorable, and remarkable, film, starts at the end, and the whole story is told in reverse as Guy Pearce, helped by Joe Pantoliano, tries to find out who killed his wife, using tattoos to keep notes.
Thus, 'Before I Go To Sleep' is not based on an original idea, but rather the concept is very familiar to those who have seen 'Total Recall' and 'Memento'. However, this does not make this a bad film, far from it. Whilst not original, the film is a little different from the other two films. They were more action movies than this one, which concentrates on the relationships.
The acting is superb throughout the film. Miss Kidman captures the emotions perfectly. We have no doubt that each day she wakes up in a strange bed with a strange man. Mr Firth too, acts well as the loving husband who has to explain everything to her, every day. Perhaps of the two, Mr Firth has perhaps the more demanding role. He has to show both exasperation and love, and he conveys his range of emotions well. Miss Kidman has perhaps a slightly easier role to play, that of the innocent woman, not understanding, or knowing who to trust. The ever reliable Mark Strong, playing the doctor, also gives a very subtle and ambiguous performance.
Rowan Joffe is the Director, and also wrote the screenplay. He has done very well to get very emotional and realistic performances from his trio of central characters, as well as from the supporting cast. Mr Joffe maintains the emotion, mystery, and tension, throughout the film. At times, you could be forgiven for thinking, that you were watching a film by that master, Mr Alfred Hitchcock. Parts of the film can easily be compared so, stylistically. However there are also many emotional kitchen-sink-style domestic scenes, all captured well.
If you like adult-themed mysteries and thrillers which deal with relationships, as well as messing with the mind, then this is the film for you.
Good film. 9/10.