In 2000, before he was one of the biggest directors on the earth, Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan wrote a movie called “Memento”, about a guy who had short-term amnesia. What would that be like; when everyday you woke up you couldn’t remember what and who you were? I don’t know how I would handle that, but I feel after watching “Memento”, and this film, I might have a better idea, if I remember it.
Christine (Nicole Kidman) wakes up every day with a clear conscious, as well as no memories because of an accident that took away her memory. Every morning it is a panic as she tries to figure out where she is, and who the man is next to her. Her husband Ben (Colin Firth) is forced to repeat the same information every morning, things like her name, who he is, how long they have been married, and what happened to her. Eventually Christine relaxes and Ben leaves for work, that is when Dr. Nash (Mark Strong) calls and tells Christine about a video diary that she has been keeping on and how he has been treating her for the last few months. Christine though is starting to remember pieces, enough pieces that start to conflict with what she was told happened to her, and that everything might not be how it seems in her life.
With the loss of a characters memory, it is the perfect set up for a good thriller, because you get to piece together everything, as the film goes along, just like the character. Where you have to shine is the payoff at the end, is it as good as the build up? Or is it a let down? With “Before I Go to Sleep” the build up is pretty good, because it make you anticipate the conclusion. Kidman plays the confused and helpless Christine perfectly, and with the help of Strong and Firth, you have three good actors playing intersting characters. Where the story falters is on the end, where the payoff it not as satisfying as the build up. What does work is three fourths of the story written by Rowan Joffe, who also directed the film, is pretty solid. With a good story for most of the movie, and a strong cast, this is for sure not a bad film to watch, because I don’t think most people will have a problem with the choice of ending. So if you are looking for a semi smart thriller that you can enjoy and have fun piecing together, “Before I Go to Sleep” is not a bad time at the movies, though I’m not sure how long it will linger in your own short-term.