“Kind of an embarassment of riches in the cubby I had to pick from today. The weekend before my second knee surgery (about a year and a half ago) I made a run to Newbury Comics and picked up a big stack of used DVDs to occupy me when I’d be on house arrest. Lotta good stuff came out of that trip. I actually laid out five options on the floor and hoped the cats, who were circling me trying to get my attention, would help me decide. I convinced myself that Nosferatu was pawing at Insomnia, mostly because that’s what I was sorta learning towards anyways.
This was Christopher Nolan’s follow up to Memento. Before he was such a household name from his Dark Knight days. The first time I saw this, back in high school, I think, it was because it was part of Robin Williams’ I’m-a-dark-and-serious-actor-phase (remember One Hour Photo?). It’s also Pacino in that I’m-still-trying-to-be-relevant funk he’s been stuck in this whole millenia. For both of those, I saw it as kind of a fail. Watching it again in the mindset of Christopher-Nolan-is-a-god-among-men, it’s kinda cool. Not as good as his more notable films, but better than I’d first given it credit for.
Pachino plays an LA cop who is set to northern Alaska to investigate a murder. At this time of year in that part of the world, the sun never sets. Someone who isn’t used to that setting, like Pacino’s character, may have trouble sleeping. Insomnia sets in, and you can’t trust your own brain anymore. Williams reveals himself early as the killer and is taunting Pacino. Hilary Swank is also along for the ride as a local cop.
For the record, Nolan didn’t write it (except for polishing the final draft). It’s the only one of his that he simply directed. Guess that explains why it feels like one of his, but not quite. He certainly does better when he owns the whole thing. Not that he went wrong here. It’s still way above other psychological murder thrillers. It’s just not on par with the rest of his work.”