Thursday, November 6, 2014

Movie Review: "Before I Go to Sleep" (2014)

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Movie"Before I Go to Sleep"
Director: Rowan Joffe
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Christine (Nicole Kidman) has a form of amnesia resulting from an accident that caused her to have a traumatic brain injury. She cannot remember anything beyond her early 20's and wakes up every morning forgetting everything she did the day before. Each morning her husband Ben (Colin Firth) tells her about her life and has placed pictures of their life together on the bathroom wall as a reminder. Christine, unbeknownst to Ben, has secretly started therapy with Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong). As she goes further into therapy, she starts to unravel a mystery about her accident and uncover the secrets of her past. 

Upon leaving the theater after watching this movie, BigJ and I couldn't figure out it we disliked it or hated it. There are a slew of things wrong with it and very few good points about it. First of all, let's get the good out there first since there's not much of it. All of the actors in this movie do just fine with what they are given. It's always lovely to see Colin Firth in any capacity, good or bad. Also, Nicole Kidman is convincing enough with her source material, as is Mark Strong, who we'd like to see more from in the future. The majority of the story, however, is a dollar store knockoff and combination of "50 First Dates" meets "Memento," and not in a good way. Though Christine is an amnesiac, she has the convenience of remembering certain details that are just enough to keep the audience in the dark while giving the movie much needed clues to drive the plot forward. The main premise of the idea of the film is a decent one, but it is not executed well in this case. Filmmakers try (and sometimes succeed) to intentionally mislead audiences by making them think one way when really they should be on the opposite end of the thought spectrum. We understand what they were trying to accomplish; they were trying to make the audience experience her amnesia by giving us foggy details about the end point of the movie, but really, these instances of being mislead are frustrating, silly and feel rather cheap. On the flip side, this movie basically undoes everything Christopher Nolan did brilliantly with "Memento," which runs the movie backwards to make the audience truly immerse themselves in the amnesia condition. There is a bit of violent action in the film but it didn't come until much later on in its runtime, and what little violence there is seems unnecessary and over the top for the situation. Speaking of which, this movie is rather short, but feels much longer than it is and seems to drag on and on in the middle of it. The "twist" at the end of the film can be seen from a mile away, so the mystery is predictable and all for naught in the long run. Plus, the ending isn't even that good. The movie as a whole had potential with such an impressive cast, but was ultimately a boring letdown. This will be another movie in the "forgot we even watched it" pile in no time.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36%
Do we recommend this movie: No.
One year ago, we were watching: "Promised Land"

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