A great psychological thriller, a must-see for Pacino fans (by shortround8391)
Since the release of "Memento" which I honestly haven't seen yet Christopher Nolan has become a rising star in the world of film directing. And he finally shined with both "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" which revitalized the Batman character and established it as the most popular and even putting him above Spider-man. The fact is, Nolan is among the greatest film-makers in the world and he is going to keep making new classics for the years to come, and I'm already looking forward to "Inception" in 2010. In 2002, he directed a remake of <more>
the Norweigian film of the same name called "Insomnia", and I gotta say, it's the best psychological thriller I've ever seen and it even surpasses "The Silence of the Lambs" big time.The premise-A highly known and highly accomplished Los Angeles detective named Will Dormer Al Pacino is sent to a town in Alaska to solve a murder case involving a 17 year old girl. But his partner Hap, just revealed to him that he's planning on testifying against him because he knows about Dormer planting evidence to gain a conviction on a previous case. And all that guilt, fear and the midnight sun that is constantly shining sends Dormer a whole week of no sleep insomnia . And Dormer starts to lose his concentration and his reasoning. Al Pacino has been known for dominating every movie he's in and stealing the show from the other actors and he totally does that in here. And it also seems that he was perfectly cast in here because he has the look of a guy who hasn't slept in days. And that might be due to his facial appearance with the dark circles under his eyes and his wrinkled face and he even looks tired the moment he gets off the plane at the beginning. And the more days that pass, he looks more and more fatigued. And I wonder if Pacino really kept himself awake during filming or if he's really that good as a method actor. Although fatigue is the main emotion that he demonstrates here, his feeling of guilt is masterfully shown after he accidentally kills his partner in the thick fog while they're chasing the killer. And we, as the audience wonder if it was really a mistake, or if he shot him on purpose to shut his partner up and prevent his testimony. And Dormer even does some extreme measures to cover up what really happened. At the end, the question is never answered and we're left wondering about his morality and how ethical of a cop he really is. And also the scene when he confronts the victim's boyfriend whose a smart-mouth, always doing his "f**k the world act" and he really shuts him up. I personally thought that was pretty darn cool and he really fits into the mind of Will Dormer and gives one of his finest performances ever.Robin Williams, who plays as the girl's killer, is known for doing comedy roles and he should start listening to everyone's advice and stick to doing dramatic or serious roles, because he is WAY better when he's doing the kind of acting he does in "Insomnia". He actually doesn't start showing his face until about half-way through the movie and spends the first half either hiding his face or giving sinister, yet strangely non-threatening phone calls to Dormer. And it turns out that he saw Dormer shoot his partner and spends the rest of the movie blackmailing him and forces him to pin the murder of the girl on someone else. Hilary Swank gives perhaps the 2nd best acting performance and once again, Nolan casted her perfectly as the detective who idolizes Dormer. I guess it has to do something with the way Swank's mannerisms are like. And she's totally believable as the character who looks up to Dormer and she seems like she wants to impress him all the time. And she cuts Dormer some slack even though he gives a vague explanation for an incident involving an officers death. Having a trio of former Oscar winners really helped the film here, and also was the masterful direction of Nolan, he makes the scenery of Alaska somewhat peaceful, yet disturbing. And as all psychological thrillers go...u have to keep the suspense and tension going though the whole move....otherwise, what's the point? At first, you can feel the tension between Dormer and his partner, and then between Dormer and the killer. This is simply the best psycho-thriller I've ever seen, and if you think that "The Silence of the Lambs" was something, wait 'till you see this!
Al Pacino is an L.A. cop who's come to Alaska with his partner to investigate a brutal homicide. Hilary Swank is the Alaskan detective who admires his work and methods. Robin Williams is the killer they're hunting down. All three are Oscar winners by the way, and deliver performances that are definitely worthy of an Oscar. Throughout the film, Pacino's character's mind wreaks havoc; the Alaskan town is so far up north, they get "white nights" I.e. the sun doesn't set for half the year . As a result, he cannot sleep.With "Insomnia", Christopher Nolan <more>
joins my list of directors I admire. "Insomnia" owes much of its stunning success to the directorial choices Nolan makes. The most difficult task of the movie is this: how exactly can you show the audience Pacino's increasingly disoriented, sleepless mind-frame, without boring them? I think Nolan handles this expertly.The cast deliver stellar performances, in particular Robin Williams. His character is undoubtedly psychotic. What a temptation for Williams to steal the show with a display of angry shouting, of pure psychopathic hostility, of maniacal laughter! But no. He avoids this and goes for a far different touch. His character talks of extremely disturbing things in a very calm, matter-of-fact way, making his performance far more bone-chilling. As much as I love Williams' comic roles, I have to admit he's practically unrivalled in "serious" acting.Another thought: although this is a film I like to consider a thriller, it is very much like a film noir as well. Personally, I love the plots of film noirs, but I can't stand the relentless usage of shadows and dark lighting. "Insomnia" shatters these guidelines. It is a very dark film with lots and lots of light. The effect is interesting to say the least.This film is a thriller, and consequently, I'm choosing my words carefully in order to spoil as little of the film as possible. I highly recommend seeing this film— I was blown away. "Insomnia" is also very deep, powerfully invoking themes of guilt and restlessness. I do not regret buying this film: I confidently call it a great movie.Note: Apparently, "Insomnia" is a remake of a 1997 Norwegian film starring Stellan Skarsgård. I haven't seen it, but if it was anything close to as good as this film, whoever does see it is in for a real treat!
Best cop movie I've seen in the last 12 years (by arthurclay)
When you have three Academy Award Winners in one picture, it's destined to be terrific or downright terrible. This movie is terrific. The funny thing is I didn't realize how good it was until about four years later. Time has a way of blurring your memory and mine is more blurred than most. You can't forget this one however because it sticks in your head and won't come out. The cinematography is superb and the lines are, in several places, quite unique and memorable. I will always remember at the end, feeling Dormer's Pacino insomnia. Literally feeling it. And obviously, <more>
I've been there. I once went eight whole days without a night's sleep. Don't ask me how, but I did. And after that much sleeplessness, it begins to mess with you. I have only seen about ten minutes of the original film on which this film is based, not because I got bored and turned it off, but because I didn't realize what I was watching. If I had, I most certainly would have watched the whole thing. Robin Williams was an illogical but certainly credible, deserved, and welcome addition to this film, and anyone who says he plays something other than what he actually plays didn't pay close attention. He is always good for an unexpected performance. Do yourself a favor, study this film. Really study it. A true work of art if there ever was one on film.
Great, compelling piece of work! (by mattymatt4ever)
I was really looking forward to this film, and I'm glad to say that I wasn't the least bit disappointed. First of all, I was glad to see Al Pacino on screen again. It seems like it's been a while since I've seen him on screen. I think the last film he was in was "Any Given Sunday." Pacino yet again delivers a brilliant performance, strapping the audience in for a wild ride through the emotionally scarred mind of Detective Will Dormer. It seemed like I could feel his every emotion throughout the course of the movie. Because this is a character-driven story that <more>
revolves around Dormer, his pain, anguish and guilt on account of accidentally taking his partner's life, constant insomnia and subsequent threats by his nemesis, played by Robin Williams as a writer of trashy detective novels who's fascinated by Dormer and blackmails him by threatening to spill out the secret of Dormer shooting his partner. As for Robin Williams, he is fully convincing as the reclusive novelist/murderer of a 17-year-old girl. I suspected, from the trailers, that he'd play a serial killer. I wouldn't exactly classify his character as a serial killer, but he is the antagonist and a murderer and Williams plays the role perfectly, never underplaying it and never overplaying it. He could've went over-the-top, playing a totally ruthless killer who cackles at the thought of murdering someone in cold blood. Though he's not our sympathetic character, you do feel sympathy for him at times. And I like how the story creates this little cat-and-mouse game between the two characters, each one plagued by skeletons in the closet. Oscar-winner Hilary Swank delivers another fine performance, and I was stunned to see how amazingly attractive she looks, after having seen her gender-bending role as Brandon Teena in "Boys Don't Cry." Christopher Nolan is the acclaimed director of "Memento" and he scores yet again, with this beautifully constructed thriller. I was intrigued from start to finish. Nolan's use of lighting is dark and murky, wonderfully setting the noirish tone. Nolan shows great promise as an up-and-coming director, and with a good outlet he can possibly become the next Kubrick. I greatly look forward to seeing his next project, whenever that may be.I recommend "Insomnia" to anyone who loved Nolan's previous "Memento" or anyone who simply enjoys a great, multi-faceted mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing at every turn. I think it's too early to vote this movie as one of the best films of 2002, but it's a possible candidate. We don't see too many "great" films anymore, and whenever they're out there it's good to take advantage.My score: 9 out of 10
A Psychological Dual In "The Land Of The Midnight Sun" (by seymourblack-1)
The unbearable pressure experienced by a veteran cop during his short stay in "The Land Of The Midnight Sun" is charted in detail in Christopher Nolan's impressive remake of the 1997 Norwegian movie called "Insomnia". This well-written and very tense drama shows how a toxic combination of guilt, fear and self-doubt torment the detective and undermine his physical and psychological health to such an extent that he soon starts to hallucinate and becomes increasingly unstable.LAPD Detective Will Dormer Al Pacino and his partner Detective Hap Eckhart Martin Donovan are <more>
temporarily transferred to the small town of Nightmute, Alaska to help out with the investigation of a brutal murder that's proving to be very difficult to solve. Dormer's expertise is immediately apparent during his examination of the victim's body, as he picks up on some significant points that were obviously missed by the local police and the previously slow progress of the investigation soon accelerates.Dormer sets a trap for the killer who quickly realises that something's wrong and escapes into the fog behind a remote cabin. After chasing the suspect across some rocks, Dormer sees a figure through the fog and shoots but is then horrified to discover that he's actually killed an innocent man. He later tells his local colleagues that the innocent man had been shot by the murderer and some evidence that he plants supports his story.The local detective that Dormer works most closely with is the young and immensely enthusiastic Ellie Burr Hilary Swank who, by coincidence, had studied some of his past cases during her time at the police academy. She sees her time with him as an opportunity to observe the way he operates and further enhance her knowledge of police work.The murder victim was a 17-year-old schoolgirl who it's discovered, liked the books of a local crime writer called Walter Finch Robin Williams and when it later becomes clear that they were secretly friends, Finch becomes the prime suspect. The dynamic between the determined homicide detective and his prime suspect had already become untypical however, after Finch had contacted him to say that he'd witnessed his crime in the fog and from that point on, the mind games had begun.Will Dormer is under pressure from the time he arrives in Alaska because he knows that his previous cases are being re-examined by Internal Affairs officers who suspect him of tampering with evidence to get convictions and his disloyal partner is willing to betray him to try to save his own career. Being under the constant threat of losing his career, his livelihood and his reputation is a constant worry and when he also has to grapple with his conscience about the man he accidentally killed, his anxiety becomes difficult to bear. The fear of his "crime" being discovered either by information from Finch or by the investigation that Ellie's undertaking is terrifying and to make matters worse, the perpetual daylight in his new surroundings makes it impossible for him to sleep.Al Pacino does a fantastic job of showing the mental and physical deterioration that his character goes through and Robin Williams, in one of his more restrained performances, is quite chilling as the manipulative and very creepy murderer who claims that he, like Dormer, actually killed as the result of an accident. Hilary Swank is also outstanding in her part as a smart but naïve officer who learns some important lessons and is discouraged by Dormer from making the same mistakes that he made."Insomnia" isn't a conventional thriller as the identity of the murderer is revealed at a relatively early stage of the movie and it doesn't contain many action sequences. What ultimately makes it so absorbing, however, is its account of Dormer's torment, his moral ambiguity and the psychological dual that he engages in with Finch.
Rage Against the Dying of the Light (by wes-connors)
"Invited to 'Nightmute', Alaska, to head a murder case, veteran LAPD detective Will Dormer Al Pacino finds his investigation interrupted by an ever-shining midnight sun that wreaks sleep-depriving havoc on him - and by personal guilt over a second crime that may be real or a figment of his increasingly unstable consciousness," according to the DVD sleeve description.Director Christopher Nolan does an excellent job crafting a North American version of the original 1997 Norwegian crime drama, helped immensely by Hillary Seitz' intricate, intelligent adaptation.Also <more>
extraordinary are Mr. Pacino, cinematographer Wally Pfister, and editor Dody Dorn. Hilary Swank and Robin Williams effectively tone down their established personas. The smaller roles are beautifully realized - Paul Dooley, Larry Holden, Katharine Isabelle, Jonathan Jackson, Nicky Katt, and Maura Tierney deserve an "ensemble cast" award - and, Martin Donovan's "Hap" is particularly haunting.This film could have easily been nominated for six "Academy Awards" - but, probably, voters were sleepless in Chicago. Nevertheless, "Insomnia" shows Mr. Nolan, coming off "Memento" 2000 , moving into the circle of upper echelon directors. Mr. Pfister knows how to hand-hold cameras, and Ms. Dorn's editing skills are sharp - hopefully, this team will receive some more film projects.********* Insomnia 5/3/02 Christopher Nolan ~ Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Martin Donovan
Nolan can now be considered one of the best! (by Soltes25)
INSOMNIA is not only the third film of acclaimed director Christopher Nolan his first two were FOLLOWINGS and MEMENTO , but also a film that is able to intertwine the acting talents of three Academy Award winners. Al Pacino plays a celebrated cop who is asked to work on the case of a murdered girl in Alaska. Hilary Swank plays the local law enforcement who has her eyes on making a big case. Robin Williams plays a troubled Alaskan writer. Without giving anything away, INSOMNIA is definitely worth it. Some may see it, and be disappointed. One way to steer away from this failure is think of <more>
INSOMNIA as a psychological thriller rather than a "Shoot 'em up" thriller. INSOMNIA is story about loyalty and human emotion. Don't get me wrong, the movie is thrill-packed, but let's just say--You don't need blood and gore to make the audience members be on the edge of their seats which I was . INSOMNIA hits all of its points including acting, directing, screenwriting, and cinematography. It's a first class thriller with great characters. On a side note...Pacino is worthy of an Oscar for his performance, Williams is equally excellent, and Swank also deserves recognition for complete scope of acting. A job well done by these three actors, and especially the man behind the curtain, Christopher Nolan!
First off, Christopher Nolan is one of my biggest influences when it comes to film and screen writing. With films such as Following and Memento, both of which reached cult following levels, he is well on his way to a successful Hollywood career. Then, today came, his 3rd film was released, Insomnia. Based on a 1997 Norwegian film written by Nikolaj Frobenius and Erik Skjoldbjærg, Insomnia is a true work of art in the world of film.Christopher Nolan takes all that was the 1997 film, and brings it to the next level, using his own style of directing, a musical score with shades of Memento, and <more>
an all star cast. Al Pacino and Robin Williams pulls out the greatest performances of their careers in the past decade, if not in their ENTIRE careers in my eyes. Pacino once again excels in the role of master dective, while Williams takes this chance to show his "dark side", and he does it so well. I can only hope that this is a rebirth of Robin Williams, and as it stands with his upcoming film One Hour Photo which he once again plays a dark, psychotic role , it seems to be just that! Hilary Swank also pulls out what is the greatest role of her career.Insomnia brings you in as an audience, with it's perfectly woven plot, with a film noir feel to it, just as Nolan's first two films. It is a rollercoster ride of drama and suspense as you watch Al Pacino from the very beginning unravel, and the rest of the story and his past catches up with him. I can not say much more about it, as I do not wish to spoil anything about if for you, but I do want to say this... ...go see it, right now, and enjoy. If you love crime/mystery/drama films with that wonderful Film Noir feel to it, you will love this film. If that isn't your thing, then the performances of the three main actors are worth the price of a ticket in itself. Finally I just want to say, that Insomnia proves once and for all that Christopher Nolan will indeed be a force to reckoned with in Hollywood. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... ...Christopher Nolan is well on his way to becoming the Hollywood legend which he proves he is capable of becoming.
Excellent Performances, Especially Williams (by gbheron)
One doesn't expect to feel claustrophobic in Alaska, but that's exactly the effect when watching "Insomnia". The primary story is about the police investigation of the murder of a high-school girl in a small Alaskan town. Through the pull of old acquaintances and political necessity, two LA homicide detectives Pacino and Martin Donovan are dispatched to the scene to help the locals. The political necessity concerns a graft investigation in which the two LA detectives are key suspects. One is thinking of copping a plea, so they are spirited out of LA to avoid the <more>
investigative light. Then they find themselves in the 24-hour day of the Alaskan summer where the two plot lines collide; the murder investigation and the graft. And what a collision it is. The insomnia of the title is suffered by the Pacino character, who can't sleep during the movie's 7-day span. And each day his eyes are more sunken, he's groggier, less focused. This parallels his descent into guilt, remorse, and desperation. But to provide any more details would be to give away key plot elements. "Insomnia" is gripping and it's best to see the movie cold.The acting, especially Robin Williams as the key suspect in the child slaying, is top notch. Williams is made for these roles, he should kiss the suck-up feel-good stuff goodbye for good. The photography is excellent, Alaska never looked so ominous, and the direction delivers the goods. Highly recommended.