Wednesday 17 September 2014

Before I Go To Sleep

Amnesia is a great tool for writers. In their eyes there are literally countless ways in which to use this to their advantage in films, books, TV series’, nearly every form of entertainment has used it as a motivator of some kind. And now this film based on the book of the same name by SJ Watson can be added to that long, long, long list.
Nicole Kidman plays Christine, a woman who after an accident years ago wakes up every morning with no memory of her life. Her husband Ben (Colin Firth) and Dr Nash (Mark Strong) try to comfort her. But she soon begins to question what they’re telling her. If the plot’s anything to go by then you should expect this film to offer you a good number of twists and turns as you are on the exact same level as the protagonist of the film. Before I Go To Sleep actually does this quite well, it also attempts to make the scenario appear more dramatic and unnerving.
It is quite a careful adaptation in terms of plot to say the least. It does manage to keep you up at the same pace with Christine, right up until the point when she finally discovers the truth. It does however, lack a meaningful image of consequence behind all of these head scratching plot devices. There isn’t a clear idea of what’s at stake should the main character continue to live this life. Admittedly you could argue that it allows the atmosphere of mystery and take a greater effect, but there needs to be just a bit more, just a tiny hint, of some kind of repercussion to act as a central driving force. You can discover the greater picture as the film continues, and twists can revolve around it. But at the centre there has to be an inkling of truth to motivate the audience and the character and really drive the plot forward. This film lacks that.
It also seems to sacrifice a lot of plot for character development. And that is a shame because they have a really talented cast here that could really take full advantage of a complex and involving character. Firth and Strong both develop well as suspicious conniving sharacters with that nice element of innocence that really makes you question whether or not they are actually up to something, or is Christine just beginning to go off the rails. The answer to that question is made even more difficult as Kidman offers both an inquisitive, dependant woman who also twitches and solemnly dwells in her own twisted mind.
It is quite effective as a thriller and the direction it takes makes you believe that they were really aiming for the same standard as Hitchcock. But the problem is that as soon as that thought crosses your mind you begin to look down upon the film and it looks a bit ineffective and rather uninvolving. Another problem is that with so many curves to keep suspended above the bit reveal it begins to fall under its own weight. The end result seems a bit underwhelming, maybe it’s just me being thick, but I’m sure there were a few loose ends that weren’t properly tied up. But then again, if you could keep up with it then you may be able to deduce everything, like I said it could just be me.
My advice is not to look at this film as some kind of masterful thriller. It will keep you intrigued if you can keep up and instead of thinking about what the characters are thinking and how far they have come, keep trying to guess what they need to think and wonder how far they might go in the future.

Result: 5/10 

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