Viewed – 14 February 2015 Online-rental
This is rather unique for me, reviewing a movie where I am particularly familiar with the book it is based on. S J Watson’s taught psychological thriller was a riveting read, and so naturally the prospect of a movie adaptation was quite exciting. Then I learnt of the casting. Not for a second did I picture either Colin Firth, Mark Strong or especially Nicole Kidman in the shoes of characters that were so interesting and well written in the novel. Yet I approached this with an open mind.
Kidman plays Christine Lucas, an amnesiac who every morning she wakes up has to re-learn her life and who her husband is and her she is, before it is wiped again when she goes to sleep. She was in a terrible accident according to her husband Ben (Firth) and it’s not until she receives a morning phone call from a psychiatrist, Dr Nash (Strong) that she starts to piece together her life in the hope of discovering exactly what happened to her.
It’s a good premise, not that original granted but gripping. Sad then that the performances here let the show down, despite the principle leads acting credentials. Lines and scenes are delivered very wooden, especially by an overly sincere Mark Strong and even Kidman who should be able to tackle this material with ease, seems overly pathetic and weak. The movie is also in a hell of a rush to get to it’s conclusion. It covered the major plot points so quickly I found it a challenge to keep up. It jumps from one situation to the next so fast knowing exactly what was happening or feeling much of anything was impossible. The book had time to create mood, explore emotions more deeply and form relationships. The friendship between Christine and her estranged friend Claire is portrayed very matter-of-fact where in the book it was a pivotal part of the story and the bond between the two characters was clear. Also the slightly flirty, will-they-won’t-they relationship between Christine and Dr Nash is very poorly explored and doesn’t come across as convincing either – the scenes where he says they may have feeling for each other, or the hug in his car felt incredibly forced.
With more attention to the little things, perhaps better casting and well, better direction this could have been an excellent thriller – but sadly it’s anything but. Stick with the book.
Verdict: 2 /5