Sunday, January 23, 2011


Usually the presence of serious Robin Williams is a guarantee of a top quality film. Well nothing is ever guaranteed and Insomnia is easily my least favorite film that Christopher Nolan has directed. Its not a bad movie but it does not measure up to the rest of his resume.

This whole movie ends up feeling like a misstep. Being a remake wasn’t the reason it was forgettable, but it didn’t help knowing that there was a better version of this story out there if you like your films Norwegian style. Insomnia was also Nolan’s follow-up to Memento and outside of taking advantage of the visuals filming in Alaska, this didn’t seem to challenge him in anyway. It was your basic psychological thriller with the twist of never-ending daylight causing hallucinations to the lead detective. That twist is not strong enough to carry the day.

Insomnia was the beginning of the "oh that’s what Al Pacino’s career has become" phase. This was made more obvious when he followed it up with S1m0ne, The Recruit, Two for the Money, etc. etc. etc. Instead of being the draw, seeing Pacino’s name as the star leaves the quality in question. There wasn’t as much of the 100% of Pacino’s dialogue spoken through yelling but its still the usual. Sigh.

It is amusing that I can name a handful of great dramatic performances by Robin Williams but struggle to find the same amount of memorable comedic roles. Sadly, he didn’t grow his serious beard for Insomnia. Maybe that was what was missing to make this a great movie? Robin can get creepy with the best of them and he takes full advantage here. The best scenes are when he is sweet talking Pacino trying to convince him that the murder was a one-time accident and that they should become the best of chums. She may have only had a single Oscar on her shelf at the time, but Hillary Swank shouldn’t be third billed. She does her best with the young whippersnapper figuring out Pacino’s crime arc she had to work with. Woohoo! Maura Tierney! Its always nice to see the Newsradio alum.

Yeah, let's move on past Insomnia. There are bigger and better movies to come for Christopher Nolan.

7 out of 10

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