Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.
- Will Dormer: Al Pacino
- Walter Finch: Robin Williams
- Ellie Burr: Hilary Swank
- Rachel Clement: Maura Tierney
- Hap Eckhart: Martin Donovan
- Fred Duggar: Nicky Katt
- Chief Nyback: Paul Dooley
- Kay Connell: Crystal Lowe
- Francis: Jay Brazeau
- Farrell: Larry Holden
- Trish Eckhart: Kerry Sandomirsky
- Rich: Lorne Cardinal
- Tanya Francke: Katharine Isabelle
- Randy Stetz: Jonathan Jackson
- Coroner: Paula Shaw
- Pilot: Oliver ‘Ole’ Zemen
- Officer #1: James Hutson
- Officer #2: Andrew Campbell
- Mrs. Connell: Tasha Simms
- Principal: Malcolm Boddington
- Uniformed Officer: Chris Gauthier
- Warfield (voice): Ian Tracey
- Woman on the Road: Kate Robbins
- Girl at Funeral: Emily Perkins
- Ticket Taker: Dean Wray
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Original Music Composer: David Julyan
- Director of Photography: Wally Pfister
- Editor: Dody Dorn
- Casting: Marci Liroff
- Executive Producer: George Clooney
- Executive Producer: Steven Soderbergh
- Producer: Paul Junger Witt
- Producer: Edward McDonnell
- Executive Producer: Kim Roth
- Art Direction: Michael Diner
- Production Design: Nathan Crowley
- Associate Producer: Ben Cosgrove
- Producer: Broderick Johnson
- Producer: Andrew A. Kosove
- Stunt Coordinator: Ken Kirzinger
- Foley Mixer: David Betancourt
- Foley Artist: Dawn Lunsford
- Foley Artist: Alicia Stevenson
- Set Decoration: Peter Lando
- Local Casting: Susan Taylor Brouse
- Costume Design: Tish Monaghan
- Local Casting: Lynne Carrow
- Executive Producer: Charles J.D. Schlissel
- Original Film Writer: Erik Skjoldbjærg
- Sound Effects Editor: George Simpson
- Sound Effects Editor: Marvin Walowitz
- Original Film Writer: Nikolaj Frobenius
- Screenplay: Hillary Seitz
- Associate Producer: Steven P. Wegner
- Steadicam Operator: Steven A. Adelson
- Property Master: Dan Sissons
- Script Supervisor: Kelly Moon
- Gaffer: Drew Davidson
- Still Photographer: Rob McEwan
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Michael Minkler
- Music Editor: Alex Gibson
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Myron Nettinga
- Supervising Sound Editor: Aaron Glascock
- Supervising Sound Editor: Curt Schulkey
- Dialogue Editor: Kira Roessler
- Foley Editor: Thom Brennan
- Assistant Costume Designer: Karin Nosella
- Art Department Coordinator: Franziska Keller
- Rigging Gaffer: Keith Woods
- Dialogue Editor: Alexandra Gonzales
- Production Coordinator: Eva Morgan
- Sound Mixer: Larry Sutton
- Boom Operator: Anthony J. Giacinti
- Special Effects Coordinator: Randy Shymkiw
- Costume Supervisor: Sandra Watson
- Title Designer: Dan Perri
- Location Scout: Glen Lougheed
- Extras Casting: Stephanie Boeke
- talisencrw: Definitely not Nolan’s best but probably my favourite (at least tied with ‘Batman Begins’) because I love the Norwegian original so much AND the subtle changes Nolan made with it, as well as what the three stars (Al Pacino, Robin Williams–in his first villainous role, I believe, and Hilary Swank–in probably my favourite performance of hers, next to the downright decadence and naughtiness she displayed in ‘The Black Dahlia’) bring to the table here. I greatly enjoyed the five short extras on my DVD (a double-sided disc I bought years ago that has ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ on the other side, yet unwatched): a conversation/interview of Nolan with Pacino; ‘Day for Night: The Making of…’; ‘In the Fog’ (which interviewed cinematographer Wally Pfister); Nathan Crowley: production designer; and ‘Eyes Wide Open’ (which interviewed sleep disturbance experts), which thankfully I viewed before I watched the movie, to enhance my experience.
Greatly recommended to fans of contemporary crime thrillers, regardless of whether you watched the Norwegian original or not. There are enough differences to still make it worth your while as a cinephile.
- Gimly: Captures some human sentiment incredibly well, coupled with the unique setting and great acting, this makes Insomnia a good watch, worth every minute of its two hour runtime.
That said, I was not as enamoured by it as others might be. Perhaps if was unaware of what Nolan, Pacino or Williams are capable of at their highest levels, or if I didn’t realise five minutes before the end that I’d actually seen it as a kid and could exclusively remember the ending, then it would have had a higher impact on me.
But even taken for me as is, _Insomnia_ is still a very solid bit of filmmaking.
_Final rating:★★★ – I personally recommend you give it a go._
- John Chard: A good cop can’t sleep because he’s missing a piece of the puzzle. And a bad cop cant sleep because his conscience wont let him.
Insomnia is directed by Christopher Nolan and written by Erik Skjoldbjærg and Nikolaj Frobenius (1997 screenplay). It stars Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Maura Tierney, Martin Donovan and Nicky Katt. Music is scored by David Julyan and cinematography by Wally Pfister. It’s a remake of a 1997 Norwegian film of the same name.
LAPD detective Will Dormer (Pacino) and his partner Hap Eckhart (Donovan) travel to the remote Alaskan town of Nightmute to aid the local cops investigating the savage murder of a teenage girl. But Dormer leaves behind an Internal Affairs Investigation that gnaws away at him, and when a potential bust of the murder suspect goes tragically wrong, his conscious gets attacked on two fronts. By lack of sleep and by the killer himself.
It’s a House of Cards.
Viewing from afar it’s easy to be cynical and suggest that Insomnia is just an American remake cash in. Bigger budget, bigger stars and directed by an indie darling of the critics moving into the big league. While on the surface the plot looks to be another in a long line of cops and villains thrillers where procedural unfolds and evil is ultimately brought down at the end. Yet Insomnia is so much more than that, it’s a deep movie dealing in complex psychological issues, a blanc-noir of some character substance, a picture clinically put together around one mans descent into a private hell, with the beautiful Alaskan backdrop perversely claustrophobic and Anthony Mann like in being at one with Will Dormer’s fragmented state of mind.
Killing changes you. You know that.
From the opening moments as we observe a biplane flying over the Alaskan glaciers, accompanied by David Julyan’s nerve tingling score, there’s a looming air of disquiet. Nolan knows his noir onions, mood is everything and the dense psychological atmosphere is never once breached for the entire movie. Much of the picture is dialogue heavy, gratifyingly so, with the hushed conversations between Pacino and Williams begging the viewer to hang on every word as cop and killer (no spoiler, it’s revealed to us early as a necessity) jostle for control of each others soul. What action there is also comes with a side order of otherworldly delights, a chase across floating logs and a stalk through eerie fog being the two particular highlights.
Sleep comes at a cost.
With three Oscar winners in the cast Nolan had some serious quality to direct, that Pacino, Williams and Swank deliver excellence is high praise for the British director. Pacino actually gives one of his finest late career performances, utterly compelling as Dormer, his haggard face tells of a thousand sorrows, his sleep deprived gait befits a man staring into the abyss. Wally Pfister’s photography is on the money, the blend of snow whites and green tinges sparkle from the vistas and the soft brown hues inside the hotel provide the rare moments of tranquillity available to Will Dormer. Across the board Insomnia is a cracker of a movie, a film that goes into the murky depths of the genre to reveal one of the best movies of 2002. 9/10