In Nightmute, Alaska, seventeen year old resident Kay Connell is found murdered. As a favor to the local Nightmute police chief, two Los Angeles Robbery Homicide police detectives, Will Dormer and Hap Eckhart, are called in to assist in the investigation. Although renowned in the police world, both Dormer and Eckhart are facing some professional issues back in Los Angeles. In Nightmute, Dormer has a major case of insomnia due to a combination of the incessant midnight sun and from a secret he is carrying. This insomnia is causing him to be delusional. Something he is not dreaming about is that the murderer has contacted him, informing him all about the murder and the fact that he knows everything that is going on with Dormer. They begin a symbiotic relationship in keeping secrets for each individual's benefit. But ambitious young local detective, Ellie Burr, might piece the story together on her own.Written by
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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