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Insomnia
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Insomnia (Soundtrack)
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Insomnia - Original Norwegian version (Criterion Collection DVD)
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Insomnia Review

Directed By: Christopher Nolan (Memento).
Starring: Al Pacino, Hilary Swank, Robin Williams, Martin Donovan, Jonathan Jackson, Maura Tierney, Jay Brazeau, Paul Dooley, Larry Holden, Katherine Isabelle, Nicky Katt.

Synopsis: This is the English-language remake of the 1997 Norwegian film, Insomnia. Sent from the city to investigate the murder of a teenage girl in a small Alaska town, a Detective Dormer (Pacino) also has to deal with the fact that during a stakeout his partner is shot. As the stories unravel, Detective Dormer also still got a murder to solve, in addition to the blackmail and framing of an innocent bystander being orchestrated by the man they were chasing. There's also a local detective (Swank) who is conducting her own personal investigation... of his partner's death. Will it all come crashing down on him?

Insomnia is not a thriller. At least, in no way is it a conventional one...you are told not only in the advertising for this film that Robin Williams is the killer but within the first hour of the film, that is the least startling bit within the frames here.

When we arrive along with Det. Dormer in Night Mute Alaska it is the time of the year when the sun never sets and the land is in perpetual bright light, despite the subject matter. The locales, the situation and the insomnia that follows all add to the disorientation of the detective as he tries to deal with the moral dilemmas of a Internal Affairs Investigation back in L.A. and a killer who calls himself Dormer's Silent Partner.

When the film begins we have gorgeous scenery to take in and we are introduced to the infamous Det. Dormer and Pacino seems to be in his slightly over the top mode...but then something amazing happens as the story wears on. He becomes weary,careful, physically drained and you can see it, almost feel it, his performance ranking as one of his best to date with out screaming and yelling his head off to get the point across to the audience. It is as if Pacino remembered what actual acting was and decided to not grandstand his way through the film.

Robin Williams...I am so amazed by this guy...to do the different roles, to begin touring comedy clubs again and taking chances...and here, in this nasty, dark side of a man who thinks he really can relate to the problems of Det. Dormer despite his murdering a seventeen year old girl...Robin Williams makes his Walter Finch seem sane, logical...just a trifle lost.

Hilary Swank gets the thankless role at first, until you realize her Det. Ellie burr has a much more important role as she is assigned to the task of investigating the shooting death of Dormer's partner Hap (Martin Donovan). She has begun to piece together things that no one was supposed to...and it bodes badly for Dormer. This is more akin to a psychological cop story than one than dwells on the details of the crime itself. As Ellie says near the beginning of the film, most homicides are solved within the first 72 hours, but the situations, the locale and the dead are the images that haunt Det. Dormer throughout this movie bringing his own world crashing in along with the killer's.

As a follow up to his critical success with Memento Director Christopher Nolan has proven he is no one trick pony and can handle a straight forward tale with finesse, intelligence and though he has chosen to remake a fine film already, he has taken it apart and reconstructed it for an American audience without insulting the original. A very strong talent that one can only wonder what we will get from him next.

Insomnia is another strong film to add to 2002's must-see list. 4 stars out of 5.

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Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul



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