Sent from the city to investigate the murder of a teenage girl in a small Alaska town, a police detective (Pacino) accidentally shoots his own partner while trying to apprehend a suspect. Instead of admitting his guilt, the detective is given an unexpected alibi, but this "solution" only multiplies the emotional complexity and guilt over his partner's death. He's 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?Written by
greg Dean Scmitz
I was really looking forward to this film, and I'm glad to say that I wasn't the least bit disappointed. First of all, I was glad to see Al Pacino on screen again. It seems like it's been a while since I've seen him on screen. I think the last film he was in was "Any Given Sunday." Pacino yet again delivers a brilliant performance, strapping the audience in for a wild ride through the emotionally scarred mind of Detective Will Dormer. It seemed like I could feel his every emotion throughout the course of the movie. Because this is a character-driven story that revolves around Dormer, his pain, anguish and guilt on account of accidentally taking his partner's life, constant insomnia and subsequent threats by his nemesis, played by Robin Williams as a writer of trashy detective novels who's fascinated by Dormer and blackmails him by threatening to spill out the secret of Dormer shooting his partner. As for Robin Williams, he is fully convincing as the reclusive novelist/murderer of a 17-year-old girl. I suspected, from the trailers, that he'd play a serial killer. I wouldn't exactly classify his character as a serial killer, but he is the antagonist and a murderer and Williams plays the role perfectly, never underplaying it and never overplaying it. He could've went over-the-top, playing a totally ruthless killer who cackles at the thought of murdering someone in cold blood. Though he's not our sympathetic character, you do feel sympathy for him at times. And I like how the story creates this little cat-and-mouse game between the two characters, each one plagued by skeletons in the closet. Oscar-winner Hilary Swank delivers another fine performance, and I was stunned to see how amazingly attractive she looks, after having seen her gender-bending role as Brandon Teena in "Boys Don't Cry."
Christopher Nolan is the acclaimed director of "Memento" and he scores yet again, with this beautifully constructed thriller. I was intrigued from start to finish. Nolan's use of lighting is dark and murky, wonderfully setting the noirish tone. Nolan shows great promise as an up-and-coming director, and with a good outlet he can possibly become the next Kubrick. I greatly look forward to seeing his next project, whenever that may be.
I recommend "Insomnia" to anyone who loved Nolan's previous "Memento" or anyone who simply enjoys a great, multi-faceted mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing at every turn. I think it's too early to vote this movie as one of the best films of 2002, but it's a possible candidate. We don't see too many "great" films anymore, and whenever they're out there it's good to take advantage.
My score: 9 (out of 10)
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