Plot: What’s it about?
I have to imagine that it’s hard to come up with a movie about loss of memory without comparing it to films like Memento or even 50 First Dates. But Before I Go To Sleep does just that. I’d not heard of the novel by S.J. Watson, only saw Nicole Kidman’s lovely blue eyes on the cover of the Blu-ray when I opened the package. Now, switching gears, I have to say that losing your memory must be a horrible thing. As I age, I find that on a few occasions I do forget things, mainly my wallet and it’s a bit frustrating. But I can’t imagine how I’d feel if, when I woke up every morning, I’d have no recollection of the past day. What an awful thing. Having seen Nicole Kidman a few years ago in Rabbit Hole, where she played a grieving mother, she seems right for the part, but I still can’t help thinking of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore…
Kidman plays Christine, and we meet her as she awakens, naked, looking at a montage of pictures of her and her husband, Ben (Colin Firth). Ben explains to her, evidently on a daily basis, that they’re married and have been for nearly 15 years. Christine is then shocked at a phone call by Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) who instructs her to check out a camera hidden in her closet and to watch its contents. Christine desperately tries to put the pieces of her past together, though with her memory issues it’s nearly impossible. She starts to grow suspicious of Ben and seeks out an old friend, Claire (Anne-Marie Duff) who may or may not be the key to her troubles. We have to ask ourselves if Christine is destined to live a hapless life or if she can finally crack the code and get her memory back?
I will say for a film that’s essentially the same plot as Memento, the film did manage to put a few twists and turns that made it, sorry to say, memorable. It’s a short film and my wife thought she had the whole thing figured out about twenty minutes in. “The movie isn’t even half over, I’m sure it’s not as straight-forward as it seems” was my response. It turns out I was even wrong, but so too was she. That said, the movie is passable as an drama and has three strong actors in the lead roles (with two Academy Awards between them). Kidman carries the film from beginning to end and it’s good to see her continue to take risks in her career. Fans of the novel will most likely flock to see the film adaptation, but it’s recommended as a rental, for sure.
Video: How’s it look?
The best word I can use to describe how this looks is…placid. That might not be the best adjective to use, but it’s what’s on my mind right now. The 2.40:1 AVC HD image certainly screams of anything and everything HD, but the colors are very warm, yet subdued. The interior of the house is dimly lit and even the outdoor scenes seem to have a bit of quiet subtlety to them. Detail is amazing, as we might expect. Nicole Kidman’s character looks in the mirror thinking she’s in her late 20’s only to discover she’s 40. Though she looks good for her age, the detail in the picture is showing some of the laugh lines and wrinkles in her beautiful face. Yes, Nicole Kidman is showing signs of aging – who’d have thought? Otherwise it’s a good-looking picture and is certainly constant with what we’d expect from a new to Blu-ray film.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack isn’t one that will really jar you out of your seat. It’s a very quiet, subtle mix that’s perfect for the film. Vocals are rich and strong, though Kidman’s character seems to do a lot of whispering. Firth’s and Strong’s voices resonate with authority. A few scenes have a bit of added ambiance to them and the surrounds bring out some of the depth in the mix. It’s nothing too memorable (pardon the pun) of a mix, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Character Illusions
- Ben – A quick montage of scenes with Firth’s character as well as a bit from Firth on his role in the film.
Christine – Essentially the same as above, though the focus is on Nicole Kidman’s part.
Dr. Nasch – Once more – with feeling! We get Mark Strong’s take on his part as well as a montage of clips featuring the actor.