I have to be honest: the previews for Before I Go To Sleep creeped the hell out of me. Nevertheless, after some convincing, I agreed to give this disturbing thriller (based on the 2011 novel of the same name) a shot. In the end, I’m glad that I did, because although Sleep can be difficult to watch, it’s also a deeply riveting experience.
Nicole Kidman plays Christine Lucas, an amnesiac who wakes up every morning with no recollection of the day’s events. To divulge any further details of the plot would rob the film of its twisty nature, but rest assured that it’s an intriguing mystery with a generous dose of shifting allegiances and shady characters. Kidman does a superb job with the role; she’s both sympathetic and determined, and it’s compelling to watch her try and unlock the secrets of her past. I’m not sure why Kidman got such a bad rap over the last decade. Maybe it’s because she starred in one-too-many flops, but the woman is extremely talented, and I love that she doesn’t always pick Oscar-caliber scripts. The woman is incredible when it comes to spooky material (I loved The Invasion, and The Others is a personal favorite of mine).
Christine’s husband is played by Colin Firth, and he’s astounding in the role. He capably balances the character’s various nuances and dimensions, and more than holds his own against Kidman. Much like No Good Deed, the film’s success rests squarely on the chemistry of its two leads, and both Kidman and Firth certainly do not disappoint.
However, it’s worth noting that Before I Go To Sleep has one mindblowing twist that ultimately doesn’t make much sense in retrospect. I get frustrated when writers don’t think things through with plot twists that don’t make sense upon second viewing. Still, it’s a testament to how suspenseful the film is that the twist’s lack of credibility doesn’t taint the entire experience.
While its most pivotal twist doesn’t completely hold up, Before I Go To Sleep still manages to be a chilling psychological thriller thanks to strong performances and a clever premise.