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A cool cop. A brilliant killer. This is an unspeakable crime.
Insomnia is a 2002 American thriller about two LAPD detectives sent to a city in Alaska to investigate the murder of a teenage girl.
Warden: Christopher Nolan with Hillary Seitz’s screenplay, based on the 1997 Norwegian film script by Nikolai Frobenius and Eric Schjoldbjerg. The movie stars Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. Producers: Broderick Johnson, Paul Junger Witt, Andrew A. Kosov and Edward L. McDonnell.
An experienced LAPD detective, invited to lead a murder case in Alaska’s Night Mute, sees his investigation interrupted by the eternally radiant and devastating midnight sun – and personal guilt over a second crime that could be real… or the fruit of his increasingly unstable conscience.
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A teenage girl was killed in a small fishing village in Alaska. The chief of police (played by the great actor Paul Dooley) asks his former partner from the Los Angeles Police Department, Will Dormer (Al Pacino), to come to Alaska and help him with his investigation. Dormer’s companion is his partner and friend Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan).
Dormer has problems that go way beyond what’s happening in Alaska. He is burned to death and tormented by rumors that he was an unfair policeman in the past. He is being investigated by the Ministry of the Interior and shortly after his arrival in Alaska, Eckhart admits that he was granted immunity as part of the agreement to testify against Dormer.
Dormer chases a murder suspect through the Alaskan fog and shoots his gun. If the fog lifts, Dormer will know he killed Eckhart. Was it an accident or did Dormer shoot his partner on purpose? I don’t think even Dormer knows for sure. He’s lying. He says the killer shot Eckhart.
In cooperation with a local detective (Hilary Swank), Dormer tries to solve a murder in Alaska, knowing that he will have to return to Los Angeles and will probably be indicted. Because of the midnight sun it never gets dark in Alaska, and haunted by guilt Dormer cannot sleep. Besides, the killer knows Dormer shot Eckhart. And now he calls Dormer and hits him.
Who’s the killer? His name is Walter Finch. He is a writer and in a brilliant move he is played by none other than Robin Williams. For me the presence of Robin Williams on the screen has always been a touch of narcissism and self-destruction. Even in the comic roles between the spectators Williams had a transparent but very solid wall. When he shouted a thousand words a minute and went quickly from one character to another, it always seemed like a technique for making sure no one understood who he really was.
In his insomnia (and for an hour in the same year in the photo), Robin Williams reveals the inner darkness that he rarely showed before or after. Finch may have Williams’ eccentric smile and nervous voice, but beneath the surface he is an empty shell that sees people as disposable creatures, like the characters in his soft cover novels.
Christopher Nolan leads us directly to the spirits of these two enemies. With snapshots of the Alaskan desert landscape, the inner emptiness of two spirits destroyed by guilt and paranoia seems perfectly captured. (Neither Finch Dormer nor Dormer can connect with the world beyond their damaged psyche). As you can see through Nolan’s lens, Alaska becomes as surreal and haunting as one of Conception’s dreamscapes.
For those of us who have discovered that the Dark Knight has resurrected and that the Interstellar Knight is so inflated that it borders on self parody, insomnia is a pleasant reminder that Nolan doesn’t need a loud soundtrack by Han Zimmer to make a great movie. With Insomnia Nolan gives us no bombardment, but an atmospheric and deceptive journey to the heart of darkness.
Ironically, in a film about two men who can’t sleep, insomnia will haunt your dreams.
Lisa Marie Bowman, guest critic of Broken Lens.
Other exams :
Unfortunately, Insomnia’s moral-psychological puzzles, which interrupt such a compelling viewing experience with mandatory – and in many ways unnecessary – action scenes, will make studio owners feel that they are being kept in suspense. Even Finch, who is a complex, intelligent and scary villian thanks to Williams, who conquers his manic side, returns to the usual Hollywood villian tactics in a final confrontation of disappointing normality. 20/20 Film Reviews
His fiery and intense rhythm, conscious gait, beautiful cinematography and captivating performances make him a wonderful addition to Nolan’s canon. Blu-ray.com
Besides Hans Zimmer, Nolan is often co-author of David Iulan, who composes a boring score that is no different from his Memento and The Prestige, perhaps influenced by the atmospheric scores of Howard Shore. It’s the perfect complement to Nolan’s slow, steady rhythm, misty mountain views and cloudy sunshine. Daily dose of film
I got the impression that Nolan’s version explored the motives for the crimes and the cover-ups much further than the original. I also found that the performance was much better in the new version, especially in the case of the Dormer figure (in the original the figure is called Jonas Engström). Pacino gives the impression that he hasn’t slept for days and can’t think clearly. Entertain your brain!
It really is a standard travel thriller, which lags far behind the talents attributed to him. Pacino is Pacino, and there’s nothing you can do about it – it’s always good. Williams is even good, and the canonical cast… Swank… could be anyone, really, she doesn’t have to do anything. As for Nolan, whose film Memento was one of only two films in five takes last year, I’ve never seen his thumbprint on it. I need a coffee.
Pacino and Williams are really good together. His scenes work because the character of Pacino, against Williams, has to look in the mirror of his own disappointment. These two people are a study in contrast to each other. Pacino is tense, tired, dark circles under the eyes, jaws weakened by fatigue. Williams has the smooth, open face of a true believer, a man who is convinced of his own work. Roger Ebert
…thoughtful, compelling, and immersed in a plot that defines the character. The fact that in this great thriller three Oscar-winning artists – Al Pacino and Hilary Swank as agents and Robin Williams as the psychopath they’re chasing – and director Christopher Nolan, 31, the innovator who reminded us all of Memento, only adds to the film’s hypnotic charm. It’s tight, tense and amazing.
In insomnia there are moments when the uniformity of the emotional landscape becomes as boring as the constant sunshine, but that’s not a disadvantage, and at least that was probably Nolan’s intention. Here, as in Memento, the director shows how a film can be brilliant, as dramatic, depressing and revealing as a film noir. San Francisco Chronicle
Distribution and symbols (in order of appearance) :
Al Pacino… Will Dormer
Martin Donovan… Hap Eckhart
Oliver Ole Earth… Pilot
Hilary Swank. Ellie Burr
Paul Dooley… Chief Niback
Nicky Kutt… Fred… Daggar
Larry Holden. Farrell
Jay Brazo… Francis
Lorne Cardinal Lorne… Reich
James Hutson… Agent 111
Andrew Campbell… Officer 2
Paula Shaw… Medical Examiner
Ian-Kay Kristalrecht… Kay Connell (as in Crystal Lowe)
Tasha Simms… Ms. Connell
Maura Tierney… Rachel Clement
Jonathan Jackson… Randy Stetz
Malcolm Boddington. Director
Catherine Isabelle… Tanya Franke
Robin Williams… Walter Finch…
Kerry Sandomirski… Trish eckhart
chris left-handed… Uniformed Officer (as Chris Gauthier)
Ian Tracy … Warfield
Kate Robbins… The woman in
, Emily Perkins… Girl at the funeral (as Emily Jane Perkins)
Dean Ray… Ticket Storyteller
Technical details :
aspect ratio : 2.39 : 1
tone : DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS
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