© Splendid/Sony

Ich darf nicht schlafen (Before I Go to Sleep)
U.K./France/Sweden 2014

Opening 13 Nov 2014

Directed by: Rowan Joffe
Writing credits: Rowan Joffe, S.J. Watson
Principal actors: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Ben Crompton, Anne-Marie Duff

Christine (Nicole Kidman) is an amnesiac. Every night when she goes to sleep her mind is wiped clean of that day’s events. Every morning she wakes with a shock, next to a man she has never seen before. He tells her, tiredly, patiently, that he is her husband, Ben (Colin Firth), that she is a woman of 40 who had a traumatic accident ten years before, which left her without memory. He shows her pictures in the bathroom of the two of them together on their wedding day, and a wallboard next to the kitchen with a list of things she likes, and other information, which she might need.

The director, Rowan Joffé (The American, Brighton Rock), uses the set to evoke the meager limits of Christine’s world. We are mostly confined to the bathroom, with its pictures, the bedroom, and glimpses of the study which Christine finds when a phone starts ringing. And, importantly, we watch the video, which she records as a diary on her camera daily.

The actors Kidman and Firth give their roles passion and life, and Mark Strong, is attractive, sympathetic and entirely believable as Dr. Nash, her neurophysiologist. But despite the actors, the film is so involved in the complications of the story that it lacks something, which would make it great, although it’s certainly suspenseful and entertaining. (Adele Riepe)

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