Insomnia

( 2 )

Overview

Norwegian filmmaker Erik Skjoldbjaerg makes his directorial debut with the psychological police drama Insomnia. Swedish homicide detective Jonas Engström Stellan Skarsgård and his partner, Erik Vik Sverre Anker Ousdal, arrive in a small Northern Norwegian town to help the local police investigate the murder of a teenage girl. When Jonas finds the girl's backpack, he sets a trap for the killer near a remote shed. While waiting to make an ambush in the morning fog, Jonas accidentally shoots Erik. He knows it was ...
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Overview

Norwegian filmmaker Erik Skjoldbjaerg makes his directorial debut with the psychological police drama Insomnia. Swedish homicide detective Jonas Engström Stellan Skarsgård and his partner, Erik Vik Sverre Anker Ousdal, arrive in a small Northern Norwegian town to help the local police investigate the murder of a teenage girl. When Jonas finds the girl's backpack, he sets a trap for the killer near a remote shed. While waiting to make an ambush in the morning fog, Jonas accidentally shoots Erik. He knows it was only an accident, but he decides to keep it a secret because he could lose his job. Jonas chooses to carry on with his investigation while trying to cover up the evidence of Erik's death. Meanwhile, he's unable to get any sleep due to the constant sunlight of the Norwegian summer and his increasingly guilty conscience. His only help comes from highly intuitive local police officer Hilda Haugen Gisken Armand, who begins to form her own doubts about Jonas. As he continues to lose his grip on the case at hand, he becomes dangerously close to the suspects, Jon Holt Bjørn Floberg and Frøya Marianne O. Ulrichsen. Filmmaker Christopher Nolan directed the English-language remake of Insomnia in 2002 with Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Most viewers are likely to discover this film after seeing its 2002 American remake, and it's possible to make a case for the more recent version as the superior one. After all, it elaborates on the characters, expands the action without sacrificing pace, and makes some strategic changes in the geometry of the relationships that enhance the central dilemma of the investigating detective: his cover-up of his own crime. But this version of Insomnia stands nicely on its own as a terse and satisfying combination of procedural and psychological study, with a very specific time and place setting playing an important supporting role. Engstrom (Stellan Skarsgård) is a professional thrown in with people he considers his inferiors, and the communication gap is emphasized by making Engstrom a Swede on assignment in northern Norway, where he has trouble making people literally understand him. The local female cop (played by Gisken Armand) is more assertive than was Hilary Swank's wide-eyed (if resourceful) acolyte in the remake. The difference between the two films can best be summed up by the acting approaches of its leads: Skarsgård underplays his character's angst, especially after his misdeed and the elaborate ruse he concocts to conceal it, while Al Pacino paints his man's difficulties with broader strokes. "I'm so fed up with reviving dead people," Engstrom says, neatly summing up how a homicide detective might burn out on his job. Though not given the shady recent past his counterpart has in the remake, it's not hard to imagine that Engstrom is a cop who's used to cutting corners to bring in his man. This version also makes Engstrom a less ingratiating man when the flowering of his relationship with the hotel desk clerk turns sour, a scene that the remake chose to make into a respite rather than another means of ratcheting up the tension. The killer, Jon Holt (Bjørn Floberg), is given less screen time than his remake counterpart (played by Robin Williams), and it's a signal of this film's close-to-the-vest style that this version gives him a sparsely furnished apartment, unlike the cluttered series of rooms in the remake. Even without having the more elaborate finale of the remake for comparison, it's possible to criticize the staging of the ultimate showdown between Engstrom and Holt as being a little too off-hand, but that's a rare misstep in this fine film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/6/2000
  • UPC: 037429138137
  • Original Release: 1997
  • Rating:

  • Source: Homevision
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stellan Skarsgård Jonas Engstrom
Gisken Armand Hilde Hagen
Maria Bonnevie Ane
Bjørn Floberg Jon Holt
Sverre Anker Ousdal Erik vik
Technical Credits
Erik Skjoldbjærg Director, Screenwriter
Tomas Backstrom Producer
Eli Bo Production Designer
Petter Borgli Producer
Runa Fonne Costumes/Costume Designer
Nikolaj Frobenius Screenwriter
Geir Jenssen Score Composer
Randall Meyers Sound/Sound Designer
Hakon Overas Editor
Veslemoy Fosse Ree Makeup
Tom Remlov Producer
Erling Thurmann-Andersen Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
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    Posted July 26, 2011

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    Posted June 30, 2010

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