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Insomnia (2002)

Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Director:

Christopher Nolan

Writers:

Hillary Seitz (screenplay), Nikolaj Frobenius | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,887 ( 226)
1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Pacino ... Will Dormer
Martin Donovan ... Hap Eckhart
Oliver 'Ole' Zemen Oliver 'Ole' Zemen ... Pilot
Hilary Swank ... Ellie Burr
Paul Dooley ... Chief Nyback
Nicky Katt ... Fred Duggar
Larry Holden ... Farrell
Jay Brazeau ... Francis
Lorne Cardinal ... Rich
James Hutson ... Officer #1
Andrew Campbell Andrew Campbell ... Officer #2
Paula Shaw ... Coroner
Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe ... Kay Connell (as Crystal Lowe)
Tasha Simms ... Mrs. Connell
Maura Tierney ... Rachel Clement
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Days never end. Nightmares are real. No one is innocent. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Harrison Ford was considered for the role of Will Dormer (Al Pacino). See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, when Ellie Burr is telling Dormer how she knows about his past cases, she asks if the scar on his neck is where Ronald Langley cut him during the Leland Street Murders case, but then immediately says that the Leland Street Murders were her case study at the academy. If so, she should have known that that was where he was cut. This could be attributed to the character's nervousness at meeting Dormer. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hap Eckhart: There's just nothing down there. Nothing. I haven't seen a building in, like, 20 minutes. Look at that.
Will Dormer: We're not on vacation, Hap. Remember?
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Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Christopher Nolan Characters (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Wait for the Sun
Written by Stacy Jones
Performed by American Hi-Fi
Courtesy of Island Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

Do Not Sleep
6 May 2008 | by ChrysanthepopSee all my reviews

I didn't know that 'Insomnia' was based on a Norwegian movie of the same title. Otherwise, I would have watched the original film first. What convinced me to watch this one was the cast that included three super-talented actors and the director Christopher Nolan ('loved his 'Memento'). Thus, my comment is pretty much just about the movie rather than how it compares to the original.

There's really a lot to like about. This isn't merely a 'catch-the-bad-guy' thriller but a character driven psychological drama. It starts as a who done it, then turns into a how done it to why done it to what are you going to do about it. While it is the complex characters that stand out, the details of the murder case(s) are very well presented and the layered twists add well to the plot. 'Insomnia' is fascinating to look at. The production design is of very high quality and the cinematography is breathtaking. The attention to detail and the emphasis of the visuals that make the viewer experience Dormer's sleep deprived world is stunning. Incidentally, I was watching it very late at night and perhaps that is the best time to watch it.

Nolan's style of execution is remarkable. Daylight is used very effectively as a character of its own. In a way, it's the antagonist of the movie that leads to Dormer's mental 'deterioration'. It's a dark movie set in constant daylight. Then there's the clever use of fog and floating logs which in a way act as pathetic fallacies. Blood also plays a symbolic role. The quietness of a cold and gloomy Alaska is both intense and chilling.

Al Pacino proves again what an excellent actor he is. It's amazing how he eerily looks the part with bags under his eyes, a clumsy gait, stooped shoulders and a continuous expression of fatigue while he dives into the depth of an extremely complex character. Robin Williams skillfully downplays his part as the latently manipulative Finch as he takes advantage of Dormer's vulnerability. Hillary Swank brings an air of freshness as the rookie detective who also has to make a difficult decision towards the end. Maura Tierney makes very good use of her few scenes.

On the flip side, it may seem as though 'Insomnia' loses focus in some scenes as it appears to derail. Of course there are different ways of looking at this. The ending feels rushed and is very predictable. Also Williams's Finch could have been more developed considering the important role he has. Nonetheless, it's a well-made film. I intend to watch the Norwegian version to see how it compares but on its own, Nolan's 'Insomnia' is a fascinating experience and the cast and crew deserve all the praise for finally putting it all together.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Insomnia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$46,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,930,169, 26 May 2002

Gross USA:

$67,355,513

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$113,758,770
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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