Following an accident 20 years ago, Christine (Nicole Kidman) wakes up each morning with complete amnesia. Unable to remember anything, she is reminded every day of who she is by patient, weary husband Ben (Colin Firth). But when a mysterious doctor (Mark Strong) offers help, she begins to question the trust of those around her.
Although some critics have been quick to make obvious sleep related jokes and puns based on the title, this isn’t as boring as it’s made out to be. It’s a well put together thriller with an excellent twist and good performances from the leads Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. The film version has a few tweaks from the book of the same name by S.J. Watson, notably the incorporation of a video camera instead of a written journal for Christine to log her daily memories. It’s an interesting concept and brings the film neatly from page to screen whilst serving as a fantastic plot device as Christine attempts to keep track of her life through daily logs.
Close, handheld shots and fairly flat colour grading draws us in, aligning the audience’s curiosity with Christine’s as she attempts to uncover what happened all those years ago and who is lying to her. The incredibly small cast also helps with this, with Firth and Strong serving as a rotation of comforting sympathiser or potential menace. With many films of this ‘amnesia-cinema’ genre (Eternal Sunshine, Spellbound, Total Recall) it requires a certain level of suspended disbelief in order for the narrative to work, or perhaps a lack of memory of how real world medical/social environments work.
While it may not be fully polished in places with some jarring elements in pace and plot causing the film to lose momentum slightly as it races towards a hasty resolution, it’s still good fun with a great twist. The final scene is completely (in my mind at least) drawn out and pointless and grinds the ending to a halt after the ‘big reveal’ and climax. Pun aside; it’s good to see Nicole Kidman in a role that will hopefully prove more…memorable.
Words by Andrew ‘Mash’ Marshall