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Before I Go To Sleep Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Crompton, Eddison Tollett

Before I Go to Sleep [Mild Spoilers]: after severe head injuries a woman wakes up every day with a blank memory and has to piece the last ten years back together. The biggest boob is that this is a super-tight three-hander, about one of the people, so there’s only two potential characters you can’t trust, and one can be ruled out fairly quickly, which makes the majority of the film – especially the ending – a bit of a damp squib. Despite a couple of short pieces of tension the film takes its time, and the story warms up very slowly. The whole project has a feel of being entirely driven by Firth & Kidman (and Strong) – if this was 3 unknowns nobody would have touched this. All three actors are solid, but Kidman‘s on top, looking dowdy and showing a better range than usual. Firth also gets to flex his muscles, and does well with what he’s given – which is a testament to him more than the writing. Otherwise, and disappointingly, there isn’t a whole lot more to say about this other than it looks very televisual and drab, which doesn’t help either. Before I Go to Sleep is a fairly slow paced story, with a single twist that works well – but for the majority plays like a depressing version of 50 First Dates

Score: 4/10

Before I Go To Sleep 2 Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Crompton, Eddison Tollett

Stoker Chan-wook Park, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Phyllis Somerville, Ralph Brown,

Stoker: when a young girl’s close father dies, his mysterious brother appears – a charming, yet mysterious character that she slowly becomes besotted with. Being a ChanWook Park movie, this has his stamp all over it – meticulous direction and framing, packed with striking, bold, elegant, and often haunting visuals. It’s a richly textured film, full of vivid colours, fabrics, designs, and patterns – ultra-visual cinema. Story-wise, it’s a relatively simple three-hander, focusing on layered and complex characters – that unravel, and become more intertwined as the events unfold. Perhaps because it’s a coming-of-age movie, it sticks out as being very level compared to previous works, shying away from the drama and (sensational) gore that director is used to providing, instead coming over as delayed intensity. Written by an actor, and directed by one of the world’s greatest – Stoker is a unique beast where the Korean director appears to be anticipating any ‘lost in translation’ moments from the script, by emphasizing the focus the universal visuals – you could watch this in any language and still make full sense of it. An immersive, throwback Hitchcockian thriller.

Score: 7.5/10

Stoker Chan-wook Park, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Phyllis Somerville, Ralph Brown