Insomnia 2002 Movie Scene Al Pacino as Will Dormer during the autopsy in a leather coat

Insomnia [2002]

Insomnia is a remake of a Norwegian movie of the same name starring Stellan Skarsgård as the sleep-deprived detective stumbling through the haze of Alaska’s almost never-ending day. Al Pacino was a worthy replacement and his subdued performance here really made a difference. Still, I suggest you check out the original movie. If for nothing else than to see something different and refreshing. And who knows, maybe you’ll start discovering more and more great Norwegian movies. Cold Prey, Naboer, Elling, and Hawaii, Oslo are just a couple of them. 

The snowy environment brought a strange element to the atmosphere, making the whole thing much more sinister. And the whole thing was sinister, to begin with, just to be clear. The lack of busy streets and throngs of people puts the focus directly on the story and this suspenseful atmosphere. Plus, there’s the whole insomnia thing. As someone who oftentimes struggles to go to sleep, I can totally identify with our Detective Dormer. Especially, when you have to go to work after a frustrating night of staring at the ceiling. Immediately, I thought of another movie with a similar vibe: The Machinist.

In the small fishing town of Nightmute, Alaska, the body of a young girl who’s been murdered has just been found. As their police station is rather small, two seasoned detectives are on their way from Los Angeles to assist in the investigation. They are hoping to wrap this up quickly but they will soon discover that this case is different.

It’s no wonder they hired Christopher Nolan for the upcoming reboot of the Batman franchise, his work here was impeccable. We will have the opportunity to enjoy those long and hanging shots of beautiful and vast Alaskan landscapes. And when you combine them with this intense cat and game mouse between the police and the killer, you get one hell of a movie. Insomnia is intense, mysterious, and rather somber. A perfectly balanced thriller with an engaging story and refreshing setting. And the characters were just perfect. They felt like real people like you’re watching a real police investigation.

I don’t want to bother you with unnecessary details or spoilers, so I’m going to keep this one short. You already know what type of movie Insomnia is and whether you should check it out. And I think it warrants at least one viewing. Also, it offers an atmosphere that might prompt you to come back. Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you check out The Frozen Ground, based on true events. And you can always take a look at our, Rabbit Reviews selection of Snow Movies.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writers: Hillary Seitz, Nikolaj Frobenius, Erik Skjoldbjærg

Cast: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Oliver ‘Ole’ Zemen, Martin Donovan, Nicky Katt

Fun Facts: Will Dormer’s name comes from the French, Spanish and Portuguese word “dormir” – to sleep.


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