EMINE – ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ suffers from unconvincing story

‘Before I Go to Sleep’ suffers from unconvincing storyThank God the talented Nicole Kidman will be starring in a lot of promising titles this year, because it seems that 2014 did not do her much justice in the cinematic sense.First it was the embarrassing andldquorace of Monaco,andrdquo which seemed like mere propaganda for why rich people should remain rich, and now itandrsquos andldquoBefore I Go To Sleep,andrdquo which could have been a jolting thriller but remains in the shallow waters of mediocrity.

Not to mention, stars such as Colin Firth and Mark Strong also get their share of director Rowan Joffeandrsquos pedestrian efforts in this film, despite Joffe being the talented screenwriter behind andldquoThe Americanandrdquo and andldquo28 Weeks Laterandrdquo The film is based on the bestselling debut novel by SJ Watson.But what went wrong in this adaptation?Kidman is Christine, a 44-year-old woman who wakes up every morning thinking she is in her 20s.

No, she doesnandrsquot suffer from self-denial, but is an unfortunate victim of anterograde amnesia, which prevents her from remembering anything that she experiences after a fateful accident eight years ago.She lives with her husband, Ben (Firth), a chemistry teacher Every morning she wakes up next to him, not knowing who he is.

She heads to the bathroom and gathers the direness of her situation from the photographs hung on the bathroom wall, all attached to post-its meant to remind her who she is. The 2004 romantic-comedy andldquo50 First Datesandrdquo plunged into this very theme, yet obviously that film was meant to emphasize how cute and romantic this situation could be.

Christine, however, is utterly horrified each morning and she locks herself in her house not knowing what to do.Luckily thereandrsquos the good doctor Nasch (Strong), who runs to her help every single day.

For some reason Ben is not aware of the doctorandrsquos presence, but Christine doesnandrsquot seem to mind. Nasch is a neuro-psychiatrist who wants to help Christine retrieve her memory for good and he also claims that her condition was not caused by an accident but a violent attack.

Uh-oh, is the plot getting thicker?The woman canandrsquot recall a thing but with the help of the doctorandrsquos experiment she starts putting together bits and pieces. It turns out she once had a son, but why is Ben hiding the child from her and why does he claim andldquoit was only an accidentandrdquo? Who can Christine trust? And despite all his seemingly supportive efforts, Nasch doesnandrsquot really look that reliable either, and she might be falling for himWhen her old friend Claire comes into the equation, everything gets even more tangled.

Perhaps Christine was participating in extracurricular activities — namely an affair — before her memory loss. But who was that guy? And if Ben loves her so much, why is he starting to act like a psychopath?Mentioning the rest of the plot would merely be giving away spoilers and bombarding all the possible excitement and thrills one can get from the film, but suffice it to say that the way these thrilling moments are executed transforms the film into a TV movie instead of a film that genuinely questions the meaning of personal memory, how unreliable it is and how we choose to remember things only as they fit our current situation.

Kidman relays a balanced performance first as the frantic damsel-in-distress and then as an angry individual who wants to avenge herself. Her composure reminds one of her exceptional character in the psychological thriller andldquoThe Othersandrdquo (2001) but sadly her efforts remain unfounded in the hands of Joffe.

Not to say that Joffe canandrsquot muster up a good atmosphere the filmandrsquos strongest elements are its creepy cinematography and dreary production design however, the story seems so underdeveloped and unconvincing that it is truly hard to be carried away by the overall result.In fact, when we find out the truth, it comes more as an andldquoI told you soandrdquo as opposed to a shocking surprise.

andldquoBefore I Go to Sleepandrdquo wonandrsquot fully satisfy viewers who are fans of the mystery-thriller genre despite all the talent poured into propelling the grindstone. Once you go to sleep, you wonandrsquot lose much to have forgotten this film.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman