Movie Review: Insomnia (2002)

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When Christopher Nolan makes a movie you never know what you’re gonna get. Sure, you might have a basic idea to what the hell he is up to, but overall you will have no idea. His movies are so complex and unique that you can never tell what he will do next. So today we are taking a look at one of his earliest movies… which also happens to be a crime-thriller (A.K.A. My type of movie!).

Ladies and gentlemen… “Insomnia”.

This movie is about two Los Angeles detectives named Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan). They get flown out to a small town in Alaska to investigate the murder of a young girl. The funny twist is that this place they are at is always bright, the sun never sets. They also get help from young detective Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank). And I will not say more. If I say more I will be giving away some spoilers… and we don’t want that now, do we? But I can say that, holy shit this plot is great! Like I said in the introduction, it is a Christopher Nolan movie and is therefore complex (not mindfucky) and layered. There are also a few neat twists throughout. I thought the plot was great!

The characters are fairly well-rounded with a good amount of personality. And the performances in this movie are crazy good. I mean, it is rare to see Pacino being this great in a movie from the last 10 – 15 years. Sometimes he nails it, other times he doesn’t. And in here I can safely say that he knocks it out of the park. Hilary Swank is also really good. And of course, Robin Williams (R.I.P) is also terrific in the movie. I will not say what he plays, that you will have to see for yourself. But all the characters and performances were great.

Believe it or not, but this is a Nolan movie that doesn’t have a soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. In this movie the score was done by David Julyan (Sidenote: My research tells me he also did the score for Nolan’s movie “The Prestige”). And the score is dark, chilling and great. It really helps build the suspense of the movie and also sets a mood that not all thrillers got. And I really liked the score. It really fit the movie perfectly.

You know the movie will be visually great when it is directed by Christopher Nolan. The guy is a master director and it shows here. And of course he brought on Wally Pfister to do the cinematography for the movie and it is just terrific. This is (like all Nolan movies) visually supreme. The writing in the movie is also really good, really helping the already great performances to excel even more. I was also a bit surprised to see how this movie to a large part when it came to the dialogue is morality, I never expected to see that in a thriller. But they did it and they pulled it off. Also, fun fact: it is a remake of a Norwegian movie that came out in 1998.

This movie was really well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. Roger Ebert seemed to really like this movie seeing as he gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10. Also, here is a good quote from Ebert about this movie;

“Unlike most remakes, the Nolan Insomnia is not a pale retread, but a re-examination of the material, like a new production of a good play.”

“Insomnia” got an intriguing and complex story, terrific performances, a great score, it is visually terrific and has some good writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem* My final score for “Insomnia” is a 9,79/10. This score of course gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Insomnia” is completed.

Insomnia is not good to get kiddos, make sure you get a good amount of sleep.

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