Insomnia Review

Guilt Plagues Pacino

By Adam Sturrock

Insomnia (2002)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Hilary Seitz (based off the Norwegian film by Erik Skjoldbjærg and Nikolaj Frobenius)

Cast: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

Length: 118mins

It never seems to surprise me as to how Christopher Nolan makes such consistently good films. Even before the Dark Knight saga, people fail to think that he directed Memento and still continues to make completely original films. In this case, Nolan adapts the Norwegian film, Insomnia for a “Hollywood” remake and arguably does it justice.

Al Pacino plays a veteran cop called Will Dormer who is plagued by mistakes he has made in the past. He arrives at the town of Nightmute, a perpetually sunny town that has been rocked by a young murder case. Things turn for the worst as Dormer can’t sleep and starts to question if his decisions are illusions or still grounded in reality. As his mental state evaporates,  his murky past is magnified and brings further into question if he has anything to do with the murder case in the first place with rookie cop, Ellie Burr (Swank) on his tail.

What I liked about this film is that it flips the traditional formula of a crime movie on its head; for obvious reasons I don’t want to spoil how it does this. It would be assumed that once you know who the killer is you have to ponder how the movie can be continued without a sense of inevitability. However thrilling crime movies are, it becomes very cliched that in the end, we discover who the villain is and he needs to be caught; with the build up mostly cut off however, we see the film take a different procedure to the events that I found wonderful.

I felt the casting was well done, with a particular surprise in Robin Williams having a leading role. With a mostly family orientated/comedy niche that he likes to fit into, it is refreshing that Williams can sink his acting cops into a more mature movie and generally show more  diverse skills.

Another Solid film from Nolan; up next is his film, Interstellar released late this year.



2 thoughts on “Insomnia Review

  1. Good review. Don’t mind slow, but man, this movie was a bit hard for me to get through. I get why it was, but still, that doesn’t mean it wins many points on my end.

    1. I understand where you are coming from, I think I had to pause the film once to take a breather but I personally like a slow film as long as it is worth the wait at the end. The conclusion, for me, gave me mixed feelings as I felt the discovery from the fog scene was kind of crammed in at the end a little. I ultimately fell for the unique premise, which I feel Nolan has a big knack for and that was what edged it for me.

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