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.

Movie Review: Primal Fear (1996)

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I love crime-based movies. The fun thing about it is how wide it can actually be. Crime/drama, crime-trhiller, crime-comedy, the list goes on. I even like the thing that relates to the crime genre simply known as “Legal Dramas”. I know those are not for everyone, but I can enjoy them (If they’re good). And then I find this legal drama starring Richard Gere and my favorite actor Edward Norton. So indeed I was kind of interested… even though this was quite a while before I realized Ed Norton was my favorite actor. I think I heard about this movie in like January of 2013, and it’s been on my watchlist even since. But now I finally sat down to watch it. So what did I think about the movie? Well stay to find out!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Primal Fear”

This movie is based on the book with the same name by William Diehl and is about defense attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) who takes on the job to be the attorney of altar boy Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) who has been accused of murdering archbishop Rushman (Stanley Anderson). But this movie is a bit more deep than that and doesn’t simply rely on CSI techniques and legal bullshit, oh no. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye… problem is I can’t talk about them since I don’t spoil in my reviews. But while the story in premise was pretty straight forward, the execution and general final product was pretty cool. Not saying it was without it’s flaws however. There are a few things in a sort of side-plot with Martin and one of his personal vendettas that didn’t really interest me too much, but that is not the important stuff. But the story was overall good.

I am going to be completely honest… I did not like all the characters too much. Sure the main protagonist Martin was kind of likeable but he was still a not too interesting jerk. But I was on the other hand intrigued as hell by the character of Aaron Stampler (Norton). Not only was it hightened by Norton’s great performance, but I always felt something was up with him… especially as you get deeper into the plot and further into the movie. I am not saying why if you haven’t seen, but I promise you will also be pretty intrigued. Overall the characters were good but forgettable, except for Aaron.

The music, while nothing special, was pretty good. As you may expect from this type of movie there were a few licensed tracks in it, but there was also an original score by James Newton Howard. And the original score was pretty good, if a little generic. But I did think all the music worked for the movie as a whole.

The camera work in this movie is nothing special, that is the truth. Not saying it was bad, just saying it wasn’t revolutionary or even great to be honest. And speaking of great stuff (not too clever segue, I know), I fucking loved the ending. I thought it was pretty clever how it was set up and delivered, good job movie. I am of course not gonna spoil the edning for you guys because that would be so incredibly rude. But I can at least mention that how it concluded left a small amount to interpretation in what would happen next, and I really liked that about the movie. Great job, movie!

So how was this movie when it comes to the reception? Well as far as I could find out, people enjoyed it. The main factor that people were praising was Edward Norton’s performance (I don’t blame them). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. On Metacritic it has the fairly low score of 47/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars and had this little thing to say;

“the plot is as good as crime procedurals get, but the movie is really better than its plot because of the three-dimensional characters,”

On imdb.com this movie has a score of 7,7/10. It was also nominated for One Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton). The nomination does not surprise me to be completely honest… just saying.

This movie has a good plot, decent characters, good music, a really cool ending and a phenomenal perforamnce by Edward Norton. So it is time for the final score. And my final score for “Primal Fear” is an 8,78/10. So I think this movie is worth buying (But it’s not mandatory).
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Review for “Primal Fear” is now done.

“Well how the fuck should I know!?”