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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insomniacs know the torture
Did I ever know what insomnia is? Sure it's not being able to sleep, but what does it do to you??

I think I know now, as I can feel myself addressing it right here, I've been up for nearly 17 hours. But at least I can sleep, this guy can go 5 days without a blink.

The film seems to say something about small town mentalities and what it's like living...
Published 6 months ago by Read It Yourself

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Al Pacino excels but Christopher Nolan stumbles
Christopher Nolan's 2002 remake of Insomina is sadly his weakest film in an otherwise impressive filmography. The main problem is the relentless softening and sentimentalising of the material: Pacino's cop is much more sociable and wise rather than the Skaarsgard's morally empty cold fish, and is consequently much less interesting. Nolan keeps Pacino's shouty moments to a...
Published on 3 Nov 2006 by Trevor Willsmer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insomniacs know the torture, 15 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Did I ever know what insomnia is? Sure it's not being able to sleep, but what does it do to you??

I think I know now, as I can feel myself addressing it right here, I've been up for nearly 17 hours. But at least I can sleep, this guy can go 5 days without a blink.

The film seems to say something about small town mentalities and what it's like living in one. I'm from one and I recognize certain aspects of human behaviours and attitiudes. Al Pacino's character holds it together as best he can - the interesting fact being that he has had to cut corners throughout his career and they are catching up with him more than he will catch up with sleep. He is tormented by this and makes another serious mistake. That scene is in the fog - again, great attention to detail as I was driving in the fog a couple of nights ago (naturally).

He is trying to catch a child killer in the form of Mrs Doubt..No, that's Robin Williams of course, he's taking on a serious role and you do wish he'd taken on more since, cos it shows you another side to him and it's good. Williams torments Pacino throughout and you get the impression that Pacino is fighting the tide of opinion, in a town happy to settle for any result.

Overall this is a good man fading away, tormented by his demons and the past. It is gripping and it really feels like this manhunt is taking place in the wild west, except this is Alaska, a place where it's always light...

This film had a profound effect on me, especially when you consider we've had the Batman trilogy off this director since. It's moody and the eternal appeal for me is that it is the portrayal of a man trying to keep his head above water whilst doing the very important job of catching someone dangerous. It shows you what life is like in moments of personal turmoil and gives you a real insight into what survival means at that point. Moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior Thriller, 16 Oct 2006
By 
This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
With Michael Mann slipping of late, Christopher Nolan seems destined to become the No 1 exponent of style and substance mainstream cinema.Remaking the superb 1997 Norwegian thriller of the same name and relocating it to Alaska, the story follows two L.A.P.D detectives who to escape an internal affairs enquiry go north to aid in the search for the killer of a college student. Once there a botched stakeout results in death and recrimination, the killer then starts to taunt one of the detectives who begins to unravel as the pressure of the case as well as the continual daylight starts to get to him. Nolan reins in Pacino's excesses to great reward and there are smart supporting turns from Robin Williams, Hilary Swank and the excellent Martin Donovan.High on suspense and a well sustained atmosphere of desolation both physical and spiritual this along with the Bourne Identity are the best American Thrillers of the last 10 years.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cut above the rest., 17 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This is one of those films that makes it worth sifting through all the drivel. Films that please me are few and far between, most of them never get under the characters skin and show 'us' what makes them tick. Thanks to the impressive acting from all and sublime direction this doesn't just feel real it makes you feel like an invisible spectator. Especially the scenes of Pacino alone, the emotion he portrays is captivating and the film has such beauty even a close up of some wall paper is interesting.
The story itself is very compelling and told with truth and honesty, this is no Hollywood action thriller, there is no black and white there's a lot of grey in here. Also, the just under two hours running time flys by and if you like thought provoking tales that actually make you feel 'something' then you'll find it two hours very much not wasted. This is a film I'll watch time and time again. I wish they'd make more like this one. It restores your faith in American cinema thats for sure.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Robin Williams plays it straight, 24 Jan 2006
This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Rating Explanation
I watch and own a huge number of films and can sit through most
dross. My ratings are based on my personal response to films,not
any standard of quality. Therefore:
1 star : So awful I walked out/switched off/fell asleep
2 stars: I managed to watch all of it, but it was painful
3 stars: It's OK - quite good, but I probably wouldn't watch it again
4 stars: It's good and/or enjoyable. I could happily watch it again
5 stars: These are special. My desert island films
A truly excellent thriller.
A U.S. remake of a Norwegian film, it's roots show.
Tense, twitchy and enthralling.Fantastic performances, potent settings, great script and direction.
Pacino plays an L.A. cop hiding from his own guilt while investigating the death of a girl in Alaska.
Robin Williams is chillingly convincing as the manipulative bad man.
Will be in any serious film fan's collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Blu-ray, 26 July 2010
First of all, is this worth the upgrade if you have the DVD...YES. Perfect picture and sound, so much more atmospheric, a commentary by the director and region free.

Highly recommended indeed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Without sleep, 24 Feb 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Out of all the movies Christopher Nolan has directed, "Insomnia" is probably the most... normal. No dream technology, no superheroes, no magical Tesla devices.

No, "Insomnia" is pretty much a cop thriller about hunting down a murderer. But it's much deeper and more layered than it sounds -- it's a tragic, haunting story of a good cop who begins sliding inexorably down, until he ends up collaborating with a murderer. And in true Nolan style, it's murky and slightly disorienting.

LAPD detectives Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) are sent to the remote town of Nightmute, up in Alaska, to investigate the shocking death of a teenage girl. There's some tension between the detectives because Dormer is under investigation by Internal Affairs, and Eckhart is going to testify against him.

And since Nightmute is in the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets in summer. Unable to sleep, Dormer becomes increasingly disoriented -- until he accidentally shoots Eckhart while chasing the murderer.

Knowing that no one would believe it was an accident, Dormer desperately hides the evidence of his crime. But there was one witness to the shooting -- the murderer, mystery writer Walter Finch (Robin Williams). Finch is only willing to keep silent if Dormer frames the dead girl's boyfriend, and lets him go free.

Based on a Norwegian film of the same name, "Insomnia" is essentially a study of guilt. It's never entirely clear whether Dormer's insomnia is caused by the daylight (symbolic light of truth?) or his own guilty conscience, but the events of the movie are a tragic portrait of a fundamentally good man degenerating before our eyes.

And it's one of the best roles that Al Pacino has done in years -- he depicts Dormer as a man who desperately wants to do the right thing, but is twisted into doing the WRONG thing out of his own fear. And Nolan leaves you wondering if, on some subconscious level, he did want to shoot his partner for betraying him.

And if Dormer is in the middle of the moral spectrum, then Finch and Ellie Burr are on the two extremes. I normally cannot stand Robin Williams, but he gives a surprisingly good performance as a genial yet ice-cold murderer who wants to drag Dormer down with him. And Hilary Swank is excellent as a pure-hearted young cop who is investigating Eckhart's murder.

As for Nolan, he cloaks the movie in a sense of stillness and a pale, strange daylight that never goes away, and he builds up a slow-burning sense of suspense right to the subdued ending. This makes it all the more shocking when Dormer's sleeplessness catches up to him, causing him to act recklessly and even hallucinate -- suddenly the world seems jagged and chaotic for a few minutes, before snapping back to normal.

In fact, the movie is at its weakest when it focuses just on police procedural stuff, instead of following Dormer's descent. Even if those scenes are essential to the plot, Nolan cannot make that interesting.

While not exactly what people expect from Christopher Nolan, "Insomnia" is a beautifully tragic little movie, with amazing acting and exquisite direction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sleepless north of Seattle, 15 Sep 2014
By 
Iain (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Excellent film. My motivation for buying this was Robin Williams. Fairly early on in the scenes by the beach in thick fog I realised I had caught some of it once on a flight and, ironically, had slept through most of it. So finally I had a chance to see all of it. The cinematography is simply wonderful. The mood of the Alaskan town and endless daylight are captured perfectly. The premise of the story is simple and yet extremely troubling. The Pacino character battles with his moral dilemma and is compromised. Psycho-thriller is a fitting label, reminding me occasionally of scenes from Basic Instinct - who is outsmarting whom?

As it accelerates towards its reckoning, the likelihood of a happy ending sinks into the depths. Gritty, bleak, realistic.. and that brings me to the film's only significant problem; the violence. It's a crime investigation and some of the action seems realistic, or at least believable. Some elements are frankly ridiculous. People are hit hard and repeatedly, sometimes knocked unconscious and yet, miraculously, stand up more or less unscathed and leap immediately into action. Wherever such directors learn their trade apparently no-one ever hits them.

Aside from that I've rarely seen Pacino more convincing as his character skates the thin ice. Williams surprises and excels in this serious role as the villain, the combination works surprisingly well. Swank and Donovan are also compelling in smaller roles, as are the supporting cast. A great way to lose yourself for 2 hours.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Town Without Darkness, 11 Jun 2009
By 
DL Productions UK (Merseyside, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Christopher Nolan's (Memento) look at police corruption is both fascinating and compulsive watching, the way Al Al Pacino takes on the role of Will, a cop who's not always had a clean record, trying to catch the killer of a 17 year old in a town that never has darkness is both strange, yet makes good cinema. He finds a link with a local author Walter Finch (Robin Williams) and makes his life hell, but another rookie cop, Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank) wants to find out what's going on with Will, and finds out what is going on inside his mind.

This to be is as good as Memento, though very different, showing that Christopher Nolan is good at different types of cinema. Robin Williams is amazing in this, and really keeps good composure and is nearly as sinister as his portrayal of Si (One Hour Photo) yet has that charm that reflects well in the films he comes across. I like the way he can be serious, yet very funny - Adam Sandler et al could learn from him.

I like the way Nolan used the light to keep Will awake, a sort of insomnia caused by things weighing on his mind, and the fact that he has to clear his conscience so he can possibly get back to sleep. As Ellie said "there are two types of people here, those who were born here and those who come to keep themselves to themselves."

Well worth getting this on DVD, there's plenty of extras and the quality is good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My cup of tea, 10 Mar 2008
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This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
One of my favourite movies of all times. Think I watched it about 4-5 times already in the last 15 months. Stunning, remote, damp Alaska not being the last reason why it is a fascinating film. A great plot, well casted, in the right settings.
Can't say much more, except that I am awaiting the original version for rental shortly. I'm curious which one I'd prefer in the end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping thriller, 25 Jun 2008
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S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Insomnia [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Insomnia is a good thriller thats worth buying for many reasons:

Its a top notch cast. Al Pacino gives one of his his finest late performances as the detective who can't sleep investigating a murder. Robin Williams matches Pacino in his second great role that year (see One Hour Photo for the other), and the always good Hilary Swank gives a very good performance supporting the two main leads.

The director is Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige), who seems to have a natural talent for these type of films. He does a fine job with the actors as well as capturing the sometimes haunting nature of the Alaskan landscape. Nolan is helped by a taught script, and with a running time of less than 2 hours, you will find it difficult to sleep through.

I haven't seen the original 1997 version of this film. From what I've heard its the better of the two, which means it must be very good. However for a mainstream Hollywood movie this remake is remarkably restrained and makes compulsive viewing.
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Insomnia [DVD] [2002]
Insomnia [DVD] [2002] by Christopher Nolan (DVD - 2003)
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