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Rowan Joffe
Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff
Writing Credits:
SJ Watson (novel), Rowan Joffe (screenplay)

A woman wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 1/27/2015

• “Character Illusions” Featurettes
• “Forget Me Not” Featurette
• Previews and Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Before I Go to Sleep [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 28, 2015)

When we last saw Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth together, they starred in 2014’s The Railway Man, a historical drama that made almost no money during its theatrical exhibition. Now they’re back with 2014’s Before I Go to Sleep, a thriller… that made almost no money during its theatrical exhibition.

Apparently Kidman and Firth with try again via 2015’s Genius, so perhaps the third time will be the box office charm. Until then, I figured I’d give Sleep a look.

When Christine Lucas (Kidman) wakes up everyday, she can’t remember anything about her life past her early twenties. This means that her husband Ben (Firth) needs to give her reminders and tell her that a brain injury caused this curious form of amnesia.

As soon as Ben leaves for the day, Christine gets a call from Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) and he claims to work with her to “fix” her memory issues. Apparently Ben doesn’t know about this, and some flashbacks give us clues about the doctor/patient relationship as well as her history. These contradict what Ben told to Christine, and the movie follows her attempts to piece together the reality.

If one wanted to call Sleep a dark version of 2004’s 50 First Dates, one would stand on safe ground. Clearly the two movies share intense similarities in terms of their female leads, as both revolve around women who lose their memories after awaken.

Sleep doesn’t stop with Dates as an influence, though, as it takes from other sources. 2000’s Memento becomes another obvious inspiration, and Sleep tosses in a whole lot of Hitchcock as well.

Because of this, Sleep can’t muster much in the way of original material. Most of the time it feels like an amalgamation of those influences, and it never manages to turn into its own unique experience.

It doesn’t help that the narrative seems lacking. Sleep comes across more like a collection of scenes and plot twists than a coherent tale in its own right. Some of that makes sense; we experience the world through Christine’s eyes, so the tale shouldn’t feel too smooth and cohesive. Still, it seems like the movie uses revelations as an entity unto themselves so much that it loses relevance.

At least the actors do well. In particular, Kidman grounds the film with a solid lead turn. She manages to convey Christine’s many moods and attitudes in a logical, believable manner. Firth adds mystery to his character as well; along with Christine, we need to figure out if Ben is who he claims to be, and Firth brings out appropriate sentiments.

Sleep manages to remain reasonably interesting much of the time, but it just can’t overcome its intensely derivative nature. The story turns and good performances keep us with it but the movie never rises above the level of decent pulp thriller.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D

Before I Go to Sleep appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer consistently seemed satisfying.

Sharpness was usually very good. A few wide shots looked a smidgen soft, but not to any serious degree. The vast majority of the film appeared well-defined and concise. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of print issues, no concerns materialized.

Like most modern thrillers, Sleep went with a stylized palette. Some scenes opted for a yellow-orange, while others took on more of a blue/teal. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows showed nice delineation and didn’t appear too dense. Overall, this was a positive presentation.

The movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack fit the material. It used all the channels to give us music, and appropriate effects cropped up around the spectrum in a convincing manner. Those elements meshed together in a concise way and helped give us a vivid sense of places and events.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was bright and bold, while speech came across as natural and distinctive. Effects seemed accurate and dynamic, with clean highs and deep lows. The track worked fine for the story.

A handful of extras show up here, and we find three featurettes under Character Illusions. We locate “Ben” (0:47), “Christine” (0:47) and “Dr. Nasch” (0:50). In these, we hear from actors Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. They tell us about the story and their roles. No material of substance emerges, as these clips act as advertisements and nothing more.

Forget Me Not runs two minutes, 26 seconds and includes notes from Kidman, Firth, Strong and writer/director Rowan Joffe. This offers another general look at plot and characters. Yawn – it’s another promo piece with no useful material.

The disc opens with ads for Gone Girl, The Best of Me, and Hector and the Search for Happiness. These also appear under Sneak Peek along with clips for The Drop, And So It Goes, The Longest Week and If I Stay. We also get the trailer for Sleep.

Despite a strong lead performance from Nicole Kidman, Before I Go to Sleep sputters due to its derivative nature. It comes with too many influences and it never makes a real name for itself. The Blu-ray brings us good picture and audio but lacks interesting supplements. Check Sleep out if you have an afternoon to kill, but don’t expect a lot from it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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