16 January 2015



German Title:
Ich. Darf. Nicht. Schlafen.

UK / France / Sweden, 2014
Director: Rowan Joffe


"Before I Go To Sleep", the debut novel of English writer S.J. Watson, came out in 2011 and surprisingly became an immediate worldwide bestseller. Cult director Ridley Scott soon acquired the film rights and hired writer / director Rowan Joffe ("28 Weeks Later", "The American"), son of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Roland Joffé ("The Killing Fields", "The Mission"), to turn it into a movie. Subsequently, three excellent and popular actors were hired to star in it: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. Jeez, what could go wrong?

Well, actually... a lot because despite of all the big names involved, "Before I Go To Sleep" bombed like a nuke, in the USA as well as in Europe. Was it the bland-looking posters? The not-so-impressive trailers? The super-weak marketing? To me, it seemed as if audiences simply didn't realized that this movie even existed. Even I hardly didn't notice the movie's existence.

Well, in the end, it doesn't matter that much. "Before I Go To Sleep" is a neat and watchable mystery/horror-thriller, but far from being a must-see, far from being rewatchable. The movie follows a woman who suffers from a rare form of amnesia and wakes up every morning with no memory of the last 15 years of her life - until one day when she realizes that there's something weird, something suspicious about her husband. The storyline isn't that original and often reminded me of similar-themed movies like "Memento" or "50 First Dates", but Joffe's direction is good enough to lure you in and there are also plenty of twists, turns and eerie/tense scenes/moments that keep you on the edge of your seat, at least for the bigger part of the movie.

Unfortunately, in the last third "Before I Go To Sleep" quickly becomes really, really frustrating. Plot holes and illogicalities galore, a muddled, convoluted and slightly far-fetched reveal, a finale that feels rushed and unfinished, a boring and overlong epilogue that goes on and on and on... *yawn* The acting is splendid (especially Colin Firth), music and camera both work very well, but overall, it all can't help the movie from ending up as rather mediocre and forgettable.
(Re)Watch "Memento" instead.


  1. I read the book and it was okay nothing to get excited about.
    It sounds like the film is much the same
    K :-)

    1. My GF read the book too and she said that both, movie & book, are pretty much the same: good but nothing special.

  2. It's been a long time since Nicole Kidman did a movie I liked. Thanks for the review!


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