Film: Insomnia (2002)

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Film:

Insomnia

Director: Christopher Nolan
Honors:
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Distributor: Warner Home Video

As a more conventional follow-up to his innovative thriller Memento, Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia offers ample proof that his skills are genuine. A superbly crafted remake of the 1997 Norwegian thriller, this moody police procedural is transplanted to a remote Alaskan town, where a veteran Los Angeles detective (Al Pacino) arrives to investigate the murder of a teenaged girl. Professional tragedy collides with psychological turmoil as the detective suffers from sleeplessness under the region’s perpetual daylight, and a local rookie cop (Hilary…

Reviews

Amazon.com

As a more conventional follow-up to his innovative thriller Memento, Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia offers ample proof that his skills are genuine. A superbly crafted remake of the 1997 Norwegian thriller, this moody police procedural is transplanted to a remote Alaskan town, where a veteran Los Angeles detective (Al Pacino) arrives to investigate the murder of a teenaged girl. Professional tragedy collides with psychological turmoil as the detective suffers from sleeplessness under the region’s perpetual daylight, and a local rookie cop (Hilary Swank) begins to suspect that truths are being hidden as the disturbing case unfolds. While the Alaskan setting intensifies the atmospheric mystery, Pacino’s bleary-eyed disorientation adds a rich layer to his character’s erratic behavior, and the casting of Robin Williams as the killer was a risk that pays off nicely. In many respects better than the original, Insomnia is a Hollywood remake that’s refreshingly free of compromise. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

One of the most riveting psychological thrillers of recent years, the intricately written, tautly directed Insomnia is further enhanced by superb performances from two enormously gifted actors. Al Pacino shines as a famous Los Angeles police detective working a murder case in Alaska while trying to ride out an internal-affairs investigation back home. Robin Williams portrays the murderer, a clever detective-story writer who reveals his identity to Pacino early on and engages the detective in a potentially deadly cat-and-mouse game. In this American-made adaptation of a well-received 1997 Norwegian film (which starred Stellan Skarsgard as the cop), director Christopher Nolan retains the original’s primary gimmick: Suddenly transported to the land of the midnight sun, the detective is unable to adjust, and his mental acuity is blunted by sleep deprivation. Both Pacino and Williams are uncharacteristically understated, and they receive top-notch support from Hilary Swank (as an eager-beaver Alaskan cop who admires the L.A. detective), Maura Tierney, Nicky Katt, Martin Donovan, and Paul Dooley. The multilayered plot unfolds without resorting to phony melodrama or cheap shocks, which automatically gives Nolan’s movie an edge on the competition. In a genre too often dominated by lazy scripting, two-dimensional characters, and formulaic direction, Insomnia gets extremely high marks. In addition to supplying his own feature-length commentary for the DVD, Nolan conducts an on-camera interview with Pacino and provides commentary for deleted and extended scenes. Swank does her own commentary, and there are two making-of featurettes along with a gallery of stills, production sketches, and posters. Ed Hulse

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Album:Insomnia: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Insomnia: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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