Starring: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank
Director: Christopher Nolan
Running Time: 118 mins
Insomnia is an American film about two LA detectives who are sent over to an Alaskan town, where the sun never sets, to investigate the mysterious murder of a local teenage girl, however, soon other forces begin to interrupt their investigation.
Well, here you’ve got an interesting blend of classic Christopher Nolan and psychologically insane madness, as well as a fascinating crime story that not only keeps you on the edge of your seat as the investigation deepens, but manages to enthrall you in various emotional ways as you connect with the main character.
The most fascinating thing about this film is how many different aspects and story lines there are, which makes for a very well-rounded film that manages to get to you in so many different ways.
Firstly, there’s the story on the surface about the murder investigation. It starts off as a hugely mysterious and unpredictable story, and although it begins to slow a little bit, especially as the suspect becomes a more prevalent character in the story, it becomes a lot deeper, more psychologically intriguing and more perilous, especially for the main character.
A huge part of what makes this film so enthralling is the brilliant central performance given by Al Pacino as the LA cop sent over to Alaska. As well as managing to appear as the intelligent and experienced person in the insane situation that is this film’s story, Pacino shows a very evidently weak side to his character, which is hugely exploited by the plot, allowing you to both grow closer to him as well as learn more about his deep emotions as the story unfolds.
There’s also the whole story about the internal conflict in the police department, alerted by a strange event very early on, which completely changes the rest of the film, and begins to hugely affect the whole psyche of the main character, which not only deepens the emotional context of the story, but creates a greater conflict within the plot.
As proof of how exciting this film is, it’s basically a mix of The Silence Of The Lambs and Fargo, with the crime story evoking the horror of Buffalo Bill, and the solitary setting of the film, as well as Hilary Swank’s very Marge Gunderson-esque character seeming almost identical to the brilliance of Fargo.
There was perhaps only one slight disappointment. The subplot following how Pacino’s character struggles to sleep for seven days on end because of the fact that it never gets dark in the town was not as powerful as I expected. For the majority of the story, this little psychological theme is touched upon, however not until the very ending (which is hugely thrilling) does it seem to be having any impact on how the detective deals with the investigation.
Overall, though, this gets an 8.0, because it was a thrilling, intriguing and surprisingly deep story that very rarely slipped up.