There's comfort in watching Oscar winners shake off the respect and responsibility of prestige drama to cut loose in genre screamfests. A pressure builds around post-win Best Actors and Best Actresses, a tall order to find projects worthy of their new stature. As history tells us, following your “Monster's Ball” moment with “Catwoman” can be the beginning of the end. But dabbling in cinematic camp isn't the same as accidentally starring in a ill-fated disaster. Nicole Kidman is the queen of high/low-art balance, giving her ridiculous new thriller “Before I Go to Sleep” a kind of cred that isn't born from “Academy Award winner….”
Based on the best-selling novel by S.J. Watson, “Before I Go to Sleep” stars Kidman as Christine, a woman (Nicole Kidman) who wakes up every day with a blank memory, the result of a traumatic accident in her past. Think “Memento,” or better, “50 First Dates.” When clues surface that reveal a web of hazy, fudged truths planted inside her mind by husband (Colin Firth) and doctor (Mark Strong), Christine descends into her own past by whatever means possible (and based on the trailer, that means video diaries recorded with her archaic digital camera – get this girl an iPhone!).
“Before I Go to Sleep” is a hurricane of flashing colors, screeching strings, shattering glass, strobing title cards, and Kidman's patented stress tears (put to elegant use in her Academy Award-nominated “Rabbit Hole” performance). That Kidman stands out amongst the sensory overloads as much a testament to her abilities as her Oscar win for “The Hours.” OK, maybe not as much, but it takes gusto. The fury comes from writer-director Rowan Joffé, whose credits include “Brighton Rock,” the screenplay for “28 Days Later,” and being the son of “The Mission” director Roland Joffé.
“Before I Go to Sleep” will hit theaters on Oct. 31, 2014 before arriving to Netflix in March 2015