Before I go to sleep (2014) is based on the novel of the same name by S. J. Watson, whose title in Italian is translated as Non ti fall asleep. The book was first spotted by Ridley Scott, who purchased the rights for the production of a film: this would later be entrusted to the direction of Rowan Joffé, who wrote the screenplay. the film tells the story of Christine (Nicole Kidman), a woman who, following a mysterious accident, suffered brain damage and suffers from memory loss. Every day, when she wakes up in the morning, she no longer remembers what happened to her, remembering only her first twenty years of life. Married to Ben (Colin Firth), she is followed by a doctor, Nash (Mark Strong), with the intention of trying to reconstruct the events prior to the accident.
Rowan Joffé’s thriller captures the viewer’s attention gradually, meshing in particular with the second part of the film. The focus on the protagonist is almost total, also favored by a very narrow range of characters and by the talent of Nicole Kidman. The bulk of the work and merit, in fact, is entrusted to her: her performance manages to convey from the initial scene. The actress immerses herself completely in her character by transmitting emotions, anxiety, anxiety to the viewer.
To enhance the character’s interpretation there is the camera, which with its movements faithfully follows it step by step: it is the protagonist who pulls the entire film from start to finish. Colin Firth’s interpretation is also commendable, to whom the cryptic and shy role of the protagonist’s husband is entrusted. It is a character with many facets, which, however, are mentioned in a relatively superficial way, and therefore not easy to manage and that the actor manages to make the most of.
Before I go to sleep owes much to the influence of Alfred Hitchcock, a great master of the genre. It is a choice that, given the material provided by the plot, would seem almost obligatory for those who do not want to risk making mistakes. To remind us there are elements of the scenography, the dull and gloomy photography – which is a constant, but also – and perhaps above all – the sound element. Outside of moments of tension, the soundtrack is almost non-existent, leaving room for introspection and the scene, which for its part is dominated by high-level actors. But, promptly, when the scene requires it, it is then that the motive is more pressing with a vaguely anxious action, vaguely remembering the great model of Psycho. However, it could have been more incisive and the effect does not capture with the violence and intensity that we would expect from such a film.
The Before I go to sleep ending offers a solution that may seem forced. Filtered by a candid and bright photograph – which tells us a decidedly changed mood of the protagonist, strongly in contrast with the gloomy awakening we had seen at the beginning of the film – we find Christine in hospital with Nash next to her, who reassures her about the fate of Mike, the man who pretended to be her husband. To find the protagonist is then Ben, who we discovered was not the character played by Colin Firth, who pretended to be him. It is when their son enters the scene that we understand that Christine has now recovered her memory.
Before I go to sleep begins with Christine’s awakening prior to Mike’s second attack, similar to the previous one, which had caused his memory loss. Following this new episode, the trauma of the character would seem “resolved”, like a circle that closes: hence the recovery of memory at the end, trodden by an exchange of jokes that recalls, by contrast, the title itself: “What Is this the first thing you think after waking up in the morning? “.