BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP
I always feel bad when I call a film I like a “guilty pleasure” because the term seems to indicate that the film in question is not worthy of the love that I have given it. This year I have chosen Rowan Joffe's “Before I Go To Sleep” as my guilty pleasure even though I don't consider it a bad film at all. It is well directed, very nicely acted by all the leads, has a great visual style and does a great job of building suspense and keeping its secrets hidden. It also has a very short running time which I always appreciate because it means the film is not padded with useless scenes that mean nothing just to increase the films length (while sacrificing the film's organic pacing). The only reason my mind seems to register that I should have some sort of guilt for liking this film is because the story itself is very pulpy and trashy. It is the old amnesia thriller; a classic really, where for the past twenty years a woman, who after the results of a violent action from her past, loses her entire memory once she goes to sleep. Every day she wakes with her mind wiped clean, and to battle with this she leaves photos and notes around her house to remind her of the people and things important in her life. She then learns that she is also seeing a doctor to help with her condition who has got her to keep a visual diary to keep a record of every day. However what happens when she starts to discover that the people she thought she could trust, may not be worthy of said trust. How does she know who to trust when she cant trust her memory to tell her who everyone really is? Nicole Kidman is brilliant in the starring role, easily making the audience understand her characters constant confusion, fear and total lack of trust. Colin Firth is also terrific as her long suffering husband, as is Mark Strong who plays against type in the role of the doctor. It goes without saying that a film like this is going to have a twist at the end and “Before I Go To Sleep” is no exception here, but while the twist makes a lot of what has come before it more and more implausible, I actually went with it and enjoyed it for what it was. So yes, while there is a trashiness in terms of the story of “Before I Go To Sleep”, it has been handled so well, that the film itself is nothing but good old fashioned fun.