Actors: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth
Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
Language: English (DTS 5.1)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Run Time: 92 minutes
There are too many similar themes and scenarios within Before I Go to Sleep that reminded me of other films for me to avoid comparing it. The end result feels something like a blend of Memento and Gone Girl, without the strength of either Christopher Nolan or David Fincher’s direction to elevate the material. In the end, Before I Go to Sleep is somehow simultaneously too generic and too unbelievable to make it a memorable piece of entertainment. No matter the strength of the cast, the weaker aspects of the film are eventually overpowering.
What also separates this film from the memory-loss narrative of Memento or the battle of sexes within Gone Girl is the lack of balance. In Memento the protagonist is equal part victim and villain, and there was a balance in the behavior between men and women in Gone Girl (however slight), but Nicole Kidman is given an impossible job playing the endless victim that is Christine. Even when she has moments of strength, they always seem to be attached to a man in some way. Kidman’s performance comes off a bit stiff, but one can hardly blame her when the dialogue given her character could easily have been lifted from any generic thriller.
With a memory condition caused by an accident from her past, Christine wakes up each morning unable to remember anything about herself, including the identity of the man she is sleeping next to. Each morning her husband (Colin Firth) must explain the condition to Christine, but she begins her own secret mission to uncover the forgotten memories each day with the help of her psychiatrist (Mark Strong). As she begins to piece together the accident which led to her condition each day, she awakes the next morning forced to start from a clean slate again.
Based on the best-selling novel by S. J. Watson, Before I Go to Sleep is also a film that depends on the elements of surprise. Despite the lack of impact that these twists had on my viewing experience, I must refrain from saying much more lest I spoil it for those unfamiliar with the novel. The Blu-ray extras are two featurettes, including a character study featurette for Ben (Firth), Christine (Kidman), and Dr. Nasch (Strong). The package also comes with a digital HD copy of the film.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 4/10
Special Features: 4.5/10