Before I Wake

Before I Wake, from director and co-writer Mike Flanagan, features Thomas Jane and Kate Bosworth as a pair of weird, but wholly boring parents still grieving the accidental death of their young son. Fortunately, they’ve just been approved to adopt a replacement kid. But unfortunately for them, this one has nightmares that are very real. And boring. Very real and very boring.

You ever feel like punching a movie in the dick?

17 minutes, 52 seconds. I got exactly 17 minutes, 52 seconds in before I stopped. And even then, it was only because I love me some Thomas Jane. Dude helped make Dreamcatcher watchable. Not just bearable, but watchable. Have you seen Dreamcatcher? Jane can carry a legitimately bad movie. He’s that good.

Before I Wake is like that kid in school who didn’t do his book report, so he just gives this long, drawn-out version of the summary from the back of the boom. Plus whatever else he thinks he knows about the book, or whatever bullshit sounds remotely possible.

“Well, there’s this kid. And he has nightmares. But the nightmares are kinda-sorta real. And he gets adopted by some boring rich people who are sad cuz their kid is already dead and they want a new one. And now they have to deal with this kid they want and butterflies showing up in their living room.”

Took almost twenty minutes for the movie to show me how mourning and adoption works. And everyone but Jane sounds like they’re saying their lines for the first time at five in the morning.

Like, someone had to have shown up on the first day of shooting while everyone’s panicking. “Oh, my god. We don’t have a fuckin’ script. Why don’t we have a script?” And this dude–who spent all night cobbling together some semblance of a movie from what he heard the movie was supposed to be about–shows up and is like, “I got you. Trust me.” No dialog. Just this fifteen page outline. 16-point font. Double-and-a-half spacing.

I don’t know what happened.

I’ve liked Flanagan’s other movies. They’re a lot more engaging. There’s a lot more emotion. More natural or heightened performances. 2013’s Oculus with Karen Gillan. Hush was a generic home invasion movie, but it had great tension, scares, and compelling performances.

Kate Bosworth comes across like she’s working her sixth-day straight at K-Mart and inventory is coming up and then there’s Black Friday after that. Just dead inside. Like, you can’t pay her enough to care.

Jane is great though. He looks and feels like a goddamn mess in this movie. I can believe he’s a guy who lost his kid and might never bounce back from it. But he’s third banana, at best. Who the hell thought to put Thomas Jane in the corner?

Twenty minutes, and nothing really happens. The movie doesn’t care that it has nothing to offer, but it wants you to think it does. But it’s not even going to fake it hard. It’s just going to tell you this is a movie with sad people and weird stuff happening. And to hell with making any of it matter. And that’s way worse than if it just admitted it’s bullshitting to cover its ass.

Why you gotta lie to me movie?

Before I wake is a I’m-not-mad-I’m-disappointed out of ten. Because I can accept a bad, unoriginal movie. But I can’t help but feel like I was robbed of a really good Thomas Jane performance. And that’s the real crime here.

Dude was a good Punisher, man.

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