*** Official "INSOMNIA" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, May 23, 2002.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    30,432
    Likes Received:
    5,707
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Insomnia". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, I'll hop in first. I'm eagerly anticipating the reivew or Senors Whyte and Pfeiffer, but for now - here's my review. Hope you enjoy it.
    Insomnia
    John Carpenter knew it when directing his 1982 classic The Thing. Filmmakers extraordinaire Joel & Ethan Coen also knew it when they were putting together their phenomenal Fargo. If you're trying to create an insular, sterile and unsettling world for moviegoers to get lost in, nothing works like snow. Lots of it. Coming off his universally adored Memento, director Christopher Nolan paints a devilishly tenuous ice-coated canvas in Insomnia, a tightly-wound and fascinating thriller that could stand as one of 2002's best.
    Set in the white-washed and brutally beautiful landscapes of Alaska (actually filmed in Vancouver, but the result is no less amazing), Nolan's Insomnia is a loose remake of Erik Skjoldbjærg's 1997 film of the same name. As I have not seen the original film (yet), I can't comment on how close the two films actually are, but it's clearly evident that this remake more than stands on its own. If word-of-mouth is true and the original is even better than this version, I can't wait to see it.
    Because (remake or not) Insomnia is a damn good thriller, one of those 2-hour journeys that fly by quickly as audiences gasp excitedly and wring their knuckles expectantly. Not content to present the audience with a simple cat-and-mouse pursuit, Nolan and screenwriter Hillary Seitz repeatedly up the tension and play a few tricks on the audience as well.
    Will Dormer and Hap Eckhart are two of L.A.'s finest detectives, sent on a curious assignment: head up a murder investigation in the remote Alaska town of Nightmute. Why two decorated detectives would be assigned such a thankless assignment is made clear early on; the pair (along with several other officers) are currently under Internal Affairs investigation, and the L.A. brass believe the partners are better served working out of town for a few weeks.
    After some astute and effective inquiries, Dormer and Eckhart (along with several local officers) believe they have their suspect surrounded. Following a haunting and tragic search, Dormer inadvertantly kills his fog-blind partner, and if that's not damning enough - the murderer is the only witness to Dormer's horrifying mistake. In order to avoid further suspicion from the Internal Affairs powers-that-be, Dormer must cover up Hap's death by pinning it on his escaped suspect...which makes things doubly difficult once the killer's identity is discovered.
    Everything I've divulged takes place in the first 30 minutes of the movie, so don't hate me for divulging 'spoilers'. Although the introductory scenes are as compelling as anything in Insomnia, the movie really starts to roll after Hap's accidental demise. Dormer's inability to confess begins a tense and hypnotic web of lies and deceit, and the only person who knows the truth is a cold-blooded killer.
    The stark, brilliant, unending sunshine of Nightmute soon becomes a curse to Dormer, as the detective is unable to acclimate to a land without night. As the investigation drags on, Dormer's inability to find answers combines with his desperate need to protect his sin, resulting in one strung-out and desperate detective. As neophyte policewoman Ellie Burr conducts an investigation on Hap's death, local author Walter Finch pops out of the woodwork as an unexpectedly credible murder suspect. Dormer's unending day just keeps getting worse.
    Simply put, Insomnia is a cause for celebration. It's a deliberate, intense, and altogether hypnotic thriller. The cast is uniformly excellent, with Al Pacino offering one of his most heart-wrenching and effective performances in years (perhaps ever), Hilary Swank offers rock-solid support as Officer Burr, and Robin Williams, playing Walter Finch, is nothing short of a revelation. Williams has proved in the past that he has the chops for dramatic performances, but he brings a wide-eyed clarity and logic to Walter Finch that makes the villain all the more fascinating.
    A handful of familiar character actors fill up the background quite capably, most notably the underrated Nicky Katt as a skeptical cop and the underused Maura Tierney as a sympathetic innkeeper. Martin Donovan is intense and commanding, although his ill-fated Hap logically doesn't get much screen time after the first 25 minutes.
    If you've grown weary of by-the-book thrillers like High Crimes and Murder By Numbers, and you're brave enough to withstand the summertime crowds, Insomnia is an "adult movie" that's definitely worth the trouble. There are a few harrowing chases, but for the most part Insomnia is all about exchanges of dialogue; beautiful, crackling, intense dialogue. It's rare to see such an excellent movie released among the summertime monsters, but it's a safe bet Insomnia will be remembered come Oscar time.
    One of the most satisfying crime thrillers in years. See it. And then give the original a rent. It's only fair.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] (out of 5)
     
  3. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 20, 1999
    Messages:
    983
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just got back from seeing this and I have to put this at the top of my list for 2002. I haven't seen the original, but I will now go and search it out. Great performances all around (I thought Williams was excellent as the bad guy), beautiful (but depressing) cinematography and excellent twists and turns with no pacing issues. Can't wait to check this one out again.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2000
    Messages:
    2,633
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,717
    Likes Received:
    463
    I thought the performances between Al Pacino and Robin Williams were good, but the overall story didn't have the one final twist that I would have like to have seen. It was too linear once the beans were spilled. Hillary Swank didn't have much to work with, and was never really pushed in the acting department.

    I would not call it a great film, but overall and good one due to Pacino's performance primarily.

    I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
     
  6. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,745
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought the final twist was really:
    Burr keeping the incriminating shell casing. It throws off the redemption cliche that so many films of this type use. While Finch is dead, Dormer's life work is undone.
    I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the best interaction was between Pacino and his environment. I felt it was very skillfully done.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] /[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Aryn Leroux

    Aryn Leroux Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Let me start by saying i am a huge fan of the original film. Now having seen Chris Nolan's take on the material i must say i was very impressed. I would say both films rate pretty close in my book. But i would definately give the slight edge to nolan if for anything else the great acting in this film compared to the original.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,717
    Likes Received:
    463
  9. Rob P S

    Rob P S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,999
    Likes Received:
    2
    Real Name:
    rob
    **** out of ****. Pacino definitely is Oscar-worthy.
     
  10. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2000
    Messages:
    9,063
    Likes Received:
    1
    First, let me say that I enjoyed this film. It's monotonous, repetitious tone worked for me. The film really gives you the feeling that you need to lay down and get some rest. Still...it didn't always work. I have insomnia...sometimes I go days without sleep. When Robin Williams' character points out that in the middle of the night, solitude is a great contributing factor to not sleeping. It feels like you're the only person on the planet. This is true...but I didn't really feel it during this film. The isolation factor didn't work wonders for me.

    I felt that everyone turned out a good performance...but I also had the feeling that Pacino wasn't putting everything he had into the role. I would have liked to have seen him as having a more flamboyant personality toward the beginning...slowly degrading into the half-asleep state he is in toward the end of the film. Unfortunately, Pacino seems like he never had sleep before arriving in Alaska anyway. Swank is good and convincing as that small-time cop that wants to break out...but is a little to "by-the-books." I would have liked to see Nolan use Nicky Katt a little more...the guy has talent, and I didn't feel that he had much of a chance to flex his acting muscle.

    Overall though, I liked the film. I felt that it conveyed the feelings of the characters well. I especially enjoyed the scene between Willams and Pacino toward the end, in which Pacino decides that he wants to come clean about the whole thing. Of course, the realization is that he can't without knocking down all he has built. I liked the chemistry between Williams and Pacino, especially in that scene. It also showcased the subplot of Williams' character trying to "justify" his killing by convincing Pacino that they are both the same kind of guy. They both made mistakes. At the same time Pacino knows he's wrong for killing his partner, but refuses to accept the realization because he doesn't want be like Williams.

    3/4 for me...
     
  11. nate n

    nate n Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Patrick,

    The film has great acting, but I was expecting more from the story. After the fog scene, you pretty much know what's gonna happen. The ending is also pretty cheesy and not very original. Pacino's acting is always superb. I dunno if it's Oscar worthy this time, but it was good. The film definitely should not be nominated for movie of the year. It's not a bad movie by any means, but nothing to go crazy over.
     
  12. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a very good film. Christopher Nolan populates the film with some complex and memorable characters. Combining his creativity with the camera, editing and music, he is able to create dramatic tension, suspense and mood. Al Pacino accurately captures the condition also known as sleep deprivation. Robin Williams and Hillary Swank round out a very talented cast.

    ~Edwin
     
  13. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 1998
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2 (out of 4)
    Well made film, not groundbreaking like "Memento", but good nonetheless. Can't wait to see what Nolan directs next!
     
  14. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 1999
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  15. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    8,843
    Likes Received:
    2,171
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Real Name:
    Valentino
    In short, I thought Insomnia was a well crafted, atmospheric, solidly directed and wonderfully acted intelligent thriller.
    One of the years best. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] 1/2
     

Share This Page