Crime never sleeps. Neither does Will Dormer (AL PACINO), a veteran LAPD homicide detective sent north to Alaska to head a murder case. There his investigation is disrupted by an ever-shining Midnight Sun that wreaks sleep... more »-depriving havoc on his body clock and brings Dormer's shady, guilt-plagued past into the light of day.DVD Features:
Jean W. from JORDANVILLE, NY Reviewed on 12/14/2011...
With a cast like, this, what can you say? A different kind of story...great scenery and excellent acting...a 4 star
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
A very engaging crime thriller heightened by Nolan's unmistakable cinematic touches. Most of the cast is impressive, except for Swank, who seems worthless here. Routine at times, though never a letdown. Stands very close to the par set by others of the genre like Seven or LA Confidential.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Melissa G. from CANAL FULTON, OH Reviewed on 8/22/2008...
Pacino gives a riveting performance, eating up the scenery. Williams plays a creepy dude and is convincing. Swank plays a doggedly determined detective, who worships the older cop (Paccino). great movie!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
A worthy follow up to Memento
Joseph Andrew Bono | Buffalo, NY United States | 05/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Insomnia, director Chris Nolan's second full length feature, doesn't have the same gut-wrenching and mind-bending plot twists that his feature length debut, Memento, had, but does an excellent job telling an original and gripping detective mystery.The pleasure of Insomnia is to be found in its rich cinematography, beautiful landscapes, and excellent performances. The movie is one of the most visually compelling pieces of filmmaking I have seen in years, creating surreal juxtapositions with the vast, harsh Alaskan landscape and with close-up shots of crime scene evidence. The amazing visual landscapes (both large and small) are used effectively by director Nolan to emphasize the films themes of isolation and overpowerment, of losing oneself within ones environment and in ones choices.Insomnia's plot will disappoint those looking for a new Memento, in that it does not have the sort of turns of action and motivation that Memento does. Insomnia works well without elaborate plot twists, however, it's mood benefits from a certain lack of ambiguity of action, although the ending is perhaps a little to predictable and cliched. Insomnia would have benefited, however, from more ambiguity of motivation - while the acting is top notch, especially on the part of Robin Williams, the connections between the characters actions and their motivations and decisions is too closely drawn by the script.Overall Insomnia is an excellent movie, and a good entry into the detective/suspense movie cannon. It suffers slightly from a couple of bad edits (in a movie filled with amazing editing and shooting) and from its desire to clearly spell out the principle characters motivations, but these minor flaws are more than redeemed by the director's excellent camerawork and sense of pacing, a strong script, and very solid acting performances. Insomnia is a must see movie, and a welcome change from the "blockbuster" summer movie scene of 2002."
A stylish, harrowing suspense thriller
Michael J. Mazza | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 06/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In "Insomnia," directed by Christopher Nolan, Al Pacino plays Will Dormer, a Los Angeles police detective. While a controversy swirls around him and his partner, Dormer travels to a small town in Alaska to help with a murder investigation. This assignment leads him into a tension-filled cat-and-mouse game with creepy mystery writer Walter Finch (played by Robin Williams). As an added twist, the story takes place during the Alaskan summer, when there is endless daylight; amidst this inescapable light, Dormer suffers from the malady of the film's title."Insomnia" is a gripping, stylishly made film. The gritty action sequences have a low-tech realism that is a welcome change from the typically overdone Hollywood action thing. The performances are outstanding. Williams gets a lot of mileage out of his effectively low-key interpretation of Finch. Veteran character actor Paul Dooley brings warmth and subtle authority to his role as a small town cop, and Hilary Swank is a superb foil for Pacino in her role as an eager young cop. Pacino is excellent as the film's flawed protagonist. His performance is truly harrowing."Insomnia" succeeds as a suspense drama. The motif of endless daylight is well used throughout the film, and is weighted with potential symbolic meaning. More than just a good thriller, "Insomnia" also raises some relevant moral and ethical issues."
"Insomnia"...The darker side of Robin Williams!!
Nicholas Williams | Memphis, TN United States | 10/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We have seen Academy Award winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, 1997: "Good Will Hunting") in lots of hilarious films such as "Mrs. Doubtfire", "Good Morning, Vietnam", "Bicentennial Man", and "Death to Smoochy". We have also seen him in a memorable few dramatic roles such as "Dead Poets Society", "Good Will Hunting", "What Dreams May Come", and "Jakob the Liar". But now, Williams really outdoes himself when he takes on the role of...ruthless killer! The movie is called "Insomnia", a film with so much intensity and suspense that you would have to see it again and again! The direction of Christopher Nolan ("Memento") is brilliant in every way possible! Williams is also paired up with fellow Academy Award winners Hilary Swank (Best Actress, 1999: "Boys Don't Cry") and the legendary Al Pacino (Best Actor, 1992: "Scent of a Woman") into bringing this thriller of Hitchcockian proportions to the big screen! "Insomnia" focuses on a seasoned veteran LAPD detective named Will Dormer (Pacino), who is invited to Nightmute, Alaska with his partner, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan), to head a murder case. Dormer teams up with an inexperienced, young detective named Ellie Burr (Swank) in order to find out who caused the murder and why. But during the case, Dormer finds himself and his investigation disrupted by an ever-shining midnight sun that wreaks sleep-depriving havoc on him. In other words, Dormer has inside of him what we call a "body clock". It could go off at any moment, on any day, and at any time as well. The case has also disrupted Dormer by personal guilt over a second crime that may be real...or a figment of his increasingly unstable conciousness. During the movie, the prime suspect in the murder case is a best-selling author named Walter Finch (Williams). And to me, it seems as though Dormer may have met his match when Finch starts playing these sadistic mind games with Dormer which will eventually lead to a shocking finale between the two foes! I have the DVD version of "Insomnia", loaded with extras such as an additional scene, scene-specific commentaries with Hilary Swank and crew, featurettes, theatrical trailer, stills gallery, and DVD-ROM features. In conclusion, I just have to say that "Insomnia" is truly one of the sharpest thrillers that I've seen since Nolan's "Memento" or any other thriller. With three of the greatest acting talents today, a fine supporting cast (Maura Tierney, Nicky Katt, Paul Dooley), and an incredible storyline that will keep you guessing until the very end, "Insomnia" is a must-see for everyone and a DVD must-own if you are an avid Robin Williams fan or an avid Al Pacino fan!"
Detective Story For Those Who Dislike Detective Stories
FLbeachbum | Ormond Beach, Florida United States | 08/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Insomnia" is a breakthrough movie, defying the genre pigeonhole. I have never been a fan of cops/crime stories per se. I also have no interest in 'mob' movies; consequently, I've actually not seen much of Al Pacino before. Wow; what a great actor, and he is onscreen nearly every moment from start to finish. Will Dormer (Pacino) is a most compelling character, struggling increasingly with his demons as he tries to stay focused despite being severely sleep-deprived, having been sent to Alaska during the "white nights" season to solve a criminal case. The story is presented in such a way as to engage and involve the viewer in Dormer's dilemma(s), and the Alaskan landscape (though I think most of it was actually Vancouver) is breathtakingly beautiful, making me wish I'd seen this movie in a theater. However, had I seen the theatrical trailer first I never would have taken an interest in "Insomnia". The trailer makes it look like a typical formulaic action movie; ugh. Instead, I read between the lines of others' opinions and trusted my instincts that "Insomnia" is a movie well worth viewing. Now please permit me to pass along my own recommendation: don't lose any sleep over it, just see "Insomnia"."
A satisfyingly tense, character-driven drama
Jon Eric Davidson | Redmond, WA, USA | 01/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having seen the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, I was eager to see how the American-ized version of "Insomnia" would play out. Without delving too far into the comparisons that have been thoroughly detailed in prior reviews, I will say that this is one of the finer examples of how to film a remake. This version of "Insomnia" takes place in a remote Alaskan port city, and revolves around the murder of a young girl. However, as the movie unfolds, the murder slowly becomes only a small piece of a much more expansive, provoking, intense character drama. From a cinematographical perspective, the haunting beauty of Alaska is captured perfectly. In a way unique when compared to other films, the landscape is intertwined with the plot, further exposing the loneliness and isolation, while paradoxically highlighting its stark contrast with murder, death, and psychological demons. The sequence of the hunt/shooting amidst a thick, impenetrable fog is riveting and conveys a high level of tension, as the viewer shares in the disorientation the fog creates. "Insomnia" is driven by characters and acting, and a strong cast is assembled. Al Pacino - as expected - is wonderful in his portrayal of the world-weary city cop who escapes an Internal Affairs investigation by coming to investigate this murder. In many ways, we have seen Mr. Pacino in this role on numerous occasion, and he demonstrates this with the comfortable ease in which he carries his role. However, as his sleep-deprivation - caused by the long hours of daylight - intensifies, Mr. Pacino takes his character to a remarkable next level, as he battles to cover his questionable investigative practices and battle the psychological demons tied to similar practices in cases being investigated by Internal Affairs back in Los Angeles. As a viewer, you can empathize with his character, while at the same time watch in amazement as he struggles to keep himself from completely unraveling. Robin Williams is equally strong as the author-turned-murderer. Like Mr. Pacino, we have seen Mr. Williams in roles similar to this, and yet he is so good at pulling it off that you couldn't see any other person carrying such a role. His quiet, brooding character is psychologically scary; one senses that a violent, psychotic rage is bubbling just beneath his placid exterior. Also, Mr. Williams uses his comedic facial reactions to maximize the creepiness of his character. A couple of times he flashes a muted smile that subtly conveys the twisted pleasure he has in his cat-and-mouse game with Mr. Pacino's character. He is subdued, but brilliant, in this role. Hilary Swank also shines as the young, impressionable cop who ultimately uncovers Mr. Pacino's attempts to cover up the accidental shooting of his partner. She wonderfully evolves from one overcome with "hero-worship" in working with Mr. Pacino's character to one disheartened and mildly angry when she finds that her "idol" isn't who he is cracked up to be. Ms. Swank more than adequately holds her own in sharing the screen with Mr. Pacino and Mr. Williams, which is no small feat. The climatic ending to the film is perhaps slightly cliched in its quick tying up of loose storylines, but it plays well here. In its progression, you weren't quite sure how things were going to be resolved after the teenage suspect is arrested (falsely) for murder. One would almost have the sense that the movie could have ended with several loose ends hanging, allowing the viewer to ponder the outcome. But, there was instead the dramatic shootout, which ultimately was a satisfying resolution and conclusion to the film.All told, "Insomnia" was a very solid, quiet, tense drama that is worth the time to see. I give it a four-star rating, and recommend it to anyone seeking a good character-driven movie that is free of overwhelming special effects and action sequences. People seeking a fast-paced drama might want to steer clear, as they might find the pacing of this film to be too slow for their tastes."