DVD Review - Before I Go to Sleep

Nicole Kidman stars as Christine Lucas, a woman suffering from a form of amnesia that makes her forget every new memory she makes every time she goes to sleep. Some critics have compared this to the comedy 50 First Dates (2004). It's also a version of Memento (2001), only it's not as pessimistic as the Christopher Nolan film, or as cleverly crafted. This film is much in the same way as Kidman's film The Others, which was not as cleverly crafted a version of The Sixth Sense.

Colin Firth (The King's Speech and A Single Man) co-stars as Ben Lucas, the husband who helps Christine to get through the day-to-day and remind her of her condition and her life. We see the frustration on him of having to deal with her memory disorder. Based on the novel by S.J. Watson, writer-director Rowan Joffe does a good job of having us distrust Ben and then ultimately sympathize with him.

Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Imitation Game) plays Mike Nasch, a neuroscientist whom Christine secretly meets to investigate her condition, meaning where it started and what caused it. He like her husband is a calm, reassuring, male presence, but the movie does a good job of having us distrust him and then ultimately sympathize with him as well.

The movie remains in Christine's point-of-view. Obviously, our memories aren't affected as hers. To overcome this, Dr. Nasch gives Christine a video camera, which acts as her new memory keeper. She keeps a video diary that she's referred to daily. All along the way, the pieces are put together of the mystery behind her amnesia. There are the requisite twists and turns. The last of which felt legitimately shocking.

My only problem is the conflict resolution, which devolves to violence. Instead of ending with a knock-down, drag-out fight, the movie could have made a more intelligent solution, or a more intelligent choice. Kidman, for example, deserves better than to be slapped and punched around.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated R for some brutal violence and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 32 mins.


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