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4.2 9
Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank


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Christopher Nolan's Insomnia, a remake that equals the original and shows that his Memento wasn't a fluke, comes from Warner and the results are as good as they get. To begin with, the image, framed at 2.35:1 and anamorphic, is exceptional in every way. Colors are balanced perfectly, while darker scenes never show any signs of breakdown. The Alaskan


Christopher Nolan's Insomnia, a remake that equals the original and shows that his Memento wasn't a fluke, comes from Warner and the results are as good as they get. To begin with, the image, framed at 2.35:1 and anamorphic, is exceptional in every way. Colors are balanced perfectly, while darker scenes never show any signs of breakdown. The Alaskan scenery is reproduced in such a way to give it an almost three-dimensional feel, with exceptional detail. The transfer really stands out. The sound, with both 5.1 tracks in English and French, is equally impressive: Surrounds are well used at the right time and never obtrusive; dialogue is crisp and clear, and easy to understand. As for supplements, this may not be a full-fledged special edition, but it does have some nice features. Included are two commentaries, but they aren't your average tracks. The first, with Nolan, is in the order of actual filming, meaning the film is completely out of order. While it's a bit odd and unsettling, the fact that this hasn't been done before is very unique. The other track, with actress Hilary Swank, screenwriter Hillary Seitz, editor Dody Dorn, cinematographer Wally Pfister, and production designer Nathan Crowley is scene specific, but only covers certain scenes. In addition, this disc includes some short featurettes, one with interviews from the main cast, a segment on actual insomniacs, an interview with Al Pacino and Nolan, and a two-part section of basically the same behind-the-scene footage, with commentary from Pfister or Crowley. Finally, along with the theatrical trailer, is a short section of publicity and behind-the-scenes photographs and an additional scene with Nolan's commentary. This is a nice package with some real surprising content that is sure to please.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
One of the most riveting psychological thrillers of recent years, the intricately written, tautly directed Insomnia is further enhanced by superb performances from two enormously gifted actors. Al Pacino shines as a famous Los Angeles police detective working a murder case in Alaska while trying to ride out an internal-affairs investigation back home. Robin Williams portrays the murderer, a clever detective-story writer who reveals his identity to Pacino early on and engages the detective in a potentially deadly cat-and-mouse game. In this American-made adaptation of a well-received 1997 Norwegian film (which starred Stellan Skarsgard as the cop), director Christopher Nolan retains the original’s primary gimmick: Suddenly transported to the land of the midnight sun, the detective is unable to adjust, and his mental acuity is blunted by sleep deprivation. Both Pacino and Williams are uncharacteristically understated, and they receive top-notch support from Hilary Swank (as an eager-beaver Alaskan cop who admires the L.A. detective), Maura Tierney, Nicky Katt, Martin Donovan, and Paul Dooley. The multilayered plot unfolds without resorting to phony melodrama or cheap shocks, which automatically gives Nolan’s movie an edge on the competition. In a genre too often dominated by lazy scripting, two-dimensional characters, and formulaic direction, Insomnia gets extremely high marks. In addition to supplying his own feature-length commentary for the DVD, Nolan conducts an on-camera interview with Pacino and provides commentary for deleted and extended scenes. Swank does her own commentary, and there are two making-of featurettes along with a gallery of stills, production sketches, and posters.
All Movie Guide
Given the narrative daring of Christopher Nolan's unique breakthrough Memento, cinephiles may have expected the director to revolutionize the detective/psycho genre with Insomnia, his remake of the 1997 Norwegian film. Instead, Nolan simply produced a superior example of that form, remarkably straightforward in its approach, which may prove he's positioned to transform cinema as a mainstream product as well as an independent one. In organizing a large budget and a trumpeted cast of Oscar winners into a critically acclaimed hit, Nolan proved his crossover accessibility and gave the world a crime drama with enough style and complexity to stand out. Logically, a film noir set entirely in daylight should struggle to create mood, but Insomnia uses the stark Alaskan landscape to generate the senses of physical and psychological isolation common to that genre. The locale also enables some dynamite sequences, particularly the foot race across floating logs that serves as a centerpiece. Al Pacino's performance is a tour de force; Nolan enhances the actor's bleary-eyed wariness by splicing in dizzy visual flashes and the persistent haunting images that prevent sleep. Robin Williams gives an understated performance, not the "serial killer" some press outlets dubbed him, rather an ordinary man who crosses a line and then slouches toward instability while covering it up. The perky earnestness of Hilary Swank's character somewhat masks her good performance, but she is doing subtle work, too, her hero worship gradually deteriorating into a jaded loss of innocence. Not all plot elements work or justify their inclusion, but that's one of the few missteps by this accomplished piece of popular filmmaking.
Entertainment Weekly
[Nolan] is a filmmaker in full control of mood, tone, and pacing, to whom actors as wildly different as Pacino and Williams can entrust their best instincts, rather than their showiest. Lisa Schwarzbaum
New York Times
Intensely sharp-witted remake of the noir thriller Insomnia. Elvis Mitchell
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
Unlike most remakes, the Nolan Insomnia is not a pale retread, but a re-examination of the material, like a new production of a good play.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Additional scene; Commentary: director Chris Nolan (commentary in order of shooting sequence); Commentary: Hilary Swank, production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Dody Dorn, cinematographer Wally Pfister, and screenwriter Hillary Seitz ; Featurette: Day for Night (making-of documentary); Featurette - 180º: A Conversation With Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino; Featurette: In the Fog (cinematography and production design); Featurette: Eyes Wide Open (the insomniac's world); Stills gallery; Interactive menus; Theatrical trailer; Cast/crew film highlights; Scene access; Languages: English & Français (dubbed in Quebec); Subtitles: English, Français & Español; Enhanced features for your DVD-ROM PC

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Al Pacino Det. Will Dormer
Robin Williams Walter Finch
Hilary Swank Ellie Burr
Maura Tierney Rachel Clement
Martin Donovan Hap Eckhart
Nicky Katt Fred Duggar
Paul Dooley Chief Charles Nyback
Larry Holden Farrell
Katharine Isabelle Tanya Francke
Jonathan Jackson Randy Stetz
Malcom Boddington Principle
Jay Brazeau Francis
Andrew Campbell Officer #2
Lorne Cardinal Rich
Chris Guthior Uniformed Officer
James Hutson Officer #1
Ken Kirzinger Stunt Coordinator
Crystal Lowe Kay Connell
Emily Perkins Girl At Funeral
Kate Robbins Woman On The Road
Kerry Sandomirsky Trish Eckhart
Paula Shaw Coroner
Tasha Simms Mrs. Connell
Ian Tracey Warfield
Dean Wray Ticket Taker
Oliver "Ole" Zemen Pilot
Nick Ingman Conductor

Technical Credits
Christopher Nolan Director
Derek Baskerville Costumes/Costume Designer
Susan Brouse Casting
Teresa Brummitt Costumes/Costume Designer
Rick Burgess Stunts
Shawn C. Stunts
John Caglione Makeup
Yves Cameron Stunts
Lynne Carrow Casting
Lauro Chartrand Stunts
Dean Choe Stunts
George Clooney Executive Producer
Ben Cosgrove Associate Producer
Nathan Crowley Production Designer
Duane Dickinson Stunts
Michael Diner Art Director
Dody Dorn Editor
Martyn Harry Musical Arrangement
Norma Hill-Patton Makeup
Yvette Jackson Stunts
Ron James Stunts
Broderick Johnson Producer
David Julyan Score Composer
Kristene Kenward Stunts
Andrew Kosove Producer
Peter Lando Set Decoration/Design
Vincent Lascoumes Asst. Director
Marci Liroff Casting
Kit Mallet Stunts
Edward L. McDonnell Producer
Cheri Minns Makeup
Mike Mitchell Stunts
Tish Monaghan Costumes/Costume Designer
Gary J. Morneau Camera Operator
Wally Pfister Cinematographer
Kim Roth Executive Producer
Jacob Rupp Stunts
Charles Schlissel Executive Producer
Hillary Seitz Screenwriter
Steven Soderbergh Executive Producer
Larry Sutton Sound Mixer,Sound/Sound Designer
Tony Thomas Executive Producer
Emma Thomas Co-producer
Marshall Virtue Stunts
Steven P. Wegner Associate Producer
Wendy S. Williams Production Manager
Paul Junger Witt Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits
2. Welcome to Nightmule
3. Crossing the Line
4. An Admirer
5. House of Cards
6. Randy's Act
7. Kay's Things
8. Chasing the Suspect
9. Man Down
10. Calling Trish
11. Sleepless
12. Crime Scene
13. Bullet for Bullet
14. No Rest
15. "I Saw You Shoot Your Partner."
16. Her Best Friend
17. On Finch's Trail
18. Across the Logjam
19. Hiding Place
20. Ferry Meeting
21. Wild Card
22. Shared Secret
23. Questioning Finch
24. Just in Time
25. Tainted Forever
26. Feeling the Truth
27. Justifies the Means
28. To the Beach House
29. I Don't Know Anymore
30. Don't Lose Your Way
31. End Credits


Customer Reviews

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Insomnia 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pacino and Williams do their normal excellent job, Williams makes one scary psycho. The female lead is pretty weak, but it's a rather peripheral part, anyway. The story is interesting and probably done better here than in the orginal Swedish version. The photography is mind-blowing, not the photographic-effects-laden type found in "Three Kings", just great shots from angles that -- I don'tknow the proper terms, it's just good to look at. This movie is definitely worthwhile and something you'll watch more than once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A classic "good vs evil" story-line that explores "does the ends justify the means" concept. Pacino is a good cop with good intentions but he is playing judge, jury and executioner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very smartly done. Al Pacino and Robin Williams lead an excellent cast in this well crafted thriller. One of the better movies of 2002.
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This film, as vanguard and insightful as it is suspenseful, engenders a deep appreciation for the guilt, remorse, and conscience of a good cop beleaguered by a past that, to put it mildly, blurs the fine blue line between a detective on the endless pursuit to capture a murderer, and the willingness to go to extraordinary lengths to effect that end result, including planting evidence on a suspect. Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is sent to an obscure Alaskan outpost that is the very essence of "the land of the midnight sun," wherein the sun shines for the duration of summer, followed by months of incessant darkness in winter. Dormer along with his longtime detective partner, are sent here to not only help with the investigation of a murder of an adolescent girl, but also to escape an Internal Affairs investigation inside the Los Angeles Police Department concerning Dormer's unorthodox and illicit praxis of planting evidence. As the film progresses, Dormer is becoming increasingly disturbed, as much by the death of his partner at his own hands, as the lack of sleep subsequent to it. What can only be described as a proverbial cat-and-mouse game ensues between Dormer and a man (Robin Williams), who happens to have witnessed the former taking the life of his partner by mistake, and the latter then tries to use this knowledge to his advantage. Aided by the very impetuous Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank), a rookie out of the academy who had actually studied one of Dormer's investigations (The Leeland Street Murders), Dormer is charged with informing Burr of the nuances of police investigation, while simultaneously trying to find the killer of Kay Connell, the adolescent girl that was murdered which he was sent to investigate. What follows is a unique insight into what can happen when a good cop turns rogue, with a complete absence of sleep, and what might transpire between a man looking for redemption, a man looking for someone to understand and listen to him, and the realization that occurs that the end does not by necessity justify the means, but rather it is the willingness to play by the rules of law, and to that end, to do the right thing in the face of ethics. By virtue of studying human behavior in all of its contexts for over a decade in college, I can attest to the accuracy of the emotional underpinnings of guilt and remorse, as evidenced by Dormer's emotional turmoil, and the human propensity to concomitantly grapple with such feelings while dealing with a depraved extortioner, hunting for that very killer, investigating suspects, solving the case so that he can go back to LA to face his past, get very much needed shut-eye, all the while staying in a tiny town on the fringes of existence, with what seems like an eternal sun, dealing with the loss of his partner at his own hands, and ultimately convincing the ethical Burr to "not loose your way." Insomnia goes well beyond the almost perfunctory nature of many "mystery-suspense-psychological thrillers" that audiences flock to in order to make sense of an insensible world, without the need for a PSY degree, and this film conveys this somewhat imperceptible facet of human existence; guilt, remorse, and ethical responsibility inherent in the human condition and to police officers who must deal with this on a daily basis. Michael Wade
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