Based on the critically acclaimed book by SJ Watson, Before I Go to Sleep is a dark, intense suspense thriller that cleverly uses a truly unique premise to provide many layers to the story that constantly keep the reader guessing and raises the questions of trust in a relationship. SJ Watson wrote the book when working as an audiologist for the NHS and for a first novel it is finely executed, the book won multiple awards across the globe and was a bestseller.
The premise is how a person who has acute memory loss on a daily basis, can psychologically cope with their daily life and move forward with full trust of those that are close to them if they are faced with so little understanding of who they are themselves. The lead character Christine suffers a tragic event that leaves her with psychological disorder or form of amnesia, as soon as she wakes up she has no recollection of the previous day or pretty much anything since the event. This premise on its own is engaging enough but throw in the mix three other main characters Ben (her husband), Dr. Nasch (her mysterious neuropsychologist) and Claire (her closest friend) and things start to unravel at a fast pace. The story is gripping enough and the suspense is high, but the whole groundhog day side of the story magnifies the tension by ten and the fact that most of the story is set in the dreary safe environment of home living is even more unsettling.
Nicole Kidman plays the lead role as Christine and whilst not being a great fan of Kidman, she does play this role incredibly well. Whether it is the fact that she does pull off looking confused, terrified and bewildered incredibly well does not matter at all. All credit to her for taking on this role, even the narration provided by her right from the opening scene captivates the viewer and guides you well into what is to come. Dr. Nasch is played by Mark Strong, who always seems to fly under the radar when it comes to critical acclaim and very undeservingly so as he is perfect for this role, providing enough darkness and menace to make the viewer question their trust in him as much as the character of Christine.
Oscar winner Colin Firth does a great job in this movie, he appears in the opening scene in bed with the main character Christine and we follow him through the movie as Ben (Christine's Husband). Firth has been typecast over the years to play nice English types and he does do this incredibly well, his character in this movie invites the audience to empathize with his difficulties living with a person who does not know him from one day to the next and Firth does this incredibly well. But without throwing a spoiler; if you are a fan of Colin Firth you will like the different sides to his performance in this film worth watching just for that alone.
Now if like me you like a good classic thriller with heaps of suspense and keeps you second guessing everything, including yourself. Before I go to Sleep is strongly recommended, there are no amazing effects and outlandish storylines here. Just a simple story with a unique premise to add a layer on top and all brought together by a great cast to give you one and a half hours of deep suspense.
Update: Before I Go To Sleep is no longer included in your Amazon Prime Subscription, however, you can rent or buy it.