Before I Go to Sleep review – Nicole Kidman loses her memory, forgettably

A horrors-of-the-home psycho-thriller for the jittery. Nicole Kidman plays Christine, an amnesiac whose memory wipes itself when she falls asleep. A traumatic event in her past holds the secret to her condition, as may Ben (Colin Firth), her extremely attentive husband.

Rowan Joffe's take on SJ Watson's bestselling book is a joyless reverse Groundhog Day, or a treacly Memento. There's a lot of repetition of the fairly simple premise with little progression. We spend ages waiting for Christine to catch up with us. Kidman is panicky, a la The Others, while Firth and Christine's hunky doctor (Mark Strong) swap places as her top-ranking sinister smoothie.

It aims for sexy and/or dangerous, but the tone is dry and the pace lags. Joffe stretches for Polanski or Hitchcock, but his suspense is undercooked and his plot flails when it should twist. You leave knowing as little of Christine as when you went in, which is strangely appropriate.

Powered by article was written by Henry Barnes, for The Guardian on Thursday 4th September 2014 22.10 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010