It’s been some time since a twisty thriller was able to genuinely surprise an audience. Increased viewer awareness of the various twist tropes often forces filmmakers to heap twist upon twist upon twist, straining credulity all the way. Invariably, the twist is about the twist is about the twist.
Marketed as a twisty thriller, Before I Go to Sleep won’t turn anybody’s mind inside out with its revelations, but it felt refreshingly old school in its approach to this sort of storytelling. It doesn’t completely abandon character in the name of thrills, and should live up to a close viewing by even the most eagle-eyed of thriller fans.
The appealing central thread – woman loses her memory each night and must re-discover who she is every morning – is sustained admirably while the plot explores a variety of potential red-herrings. Most films that announce their twistiness in advance become open books to anyone paying attention, but like a good Agatha Christie novel, Before I Go to Sleep is able to balance its various possibilities quite effectively.
A talented cast always helps with a film like this, and Kidman in particular seems more believably vulnerable here than she has in ages. Mark Strong’s off-kilter baritone makes for a nice contrast to Colin Firth’s Colin Firth-iness.
A nice little nugget (i.e. less than 100 minutes) of a film, Before I Go to Sleep is the kind of casually effective thriller we see too little of these days.
‘Before I Go to Sleep’ Movie Times