If there was as much injury-related memory loss in real life as in the movies, we’d all be walking around with pillows Sellotaped to our heads. This latest high-concept amnesia thriller stars Nicole Kidman as Christine, an English woman who can no longer store memories after a random attack. Every morning she’s back to square one, waking up in bed terrified, next to a man she’s never seen before. Turns out he’s her husband Ben (Colin Firth). If that’s not enough to deal with, as soon as he leaves for work, the phone rings. It’s Dr Nash (Mark Strong), a neuropsychologist who tells Christine he’s been treating her against Ben’s wishes.
Which man is the villain? The truth emerges in a video diary Dr Nash asks Christine to keep. Casting Firth and Strong is genius: it’s possible to buy both of them as knights in shining armour or simmering psychopaths.
As a thriller, ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ is perfectly effective, but while director Rowan Joffe keeps the twists coming, something about Kidman’s blank, frosty performance is unconvincing. Near the end, the excellent Anne Marie Duff pops up as Christine’s old friend – and you can’t helping wondering what the film would have been like with her in the lead.