Insomnia [Blu-Ray] Christopher Nolan

Insomnia [Blu-Ray] Christopher Nolan
Along with Mark Romanek's One Hour Photo, Christopher Nolan's Insomnia is one of two films from 2002 that took as its subject the idea of Robin Williams playing a bad guy. Adapted from the 1997 Norwegian thriller of the same name, Nolan's Insomnia plops an already groggy Al Pacino in an Alaskan town where the sun never sets to investigate the murder of a local high school girl. A legendary L.A. cop whose future is threatened by an Internal Affairs probe, Pacino's Will Dormer further complicates the case by shooting his partner (Martin Donovan) accidentally - maybe. Enter a doe-eyed Robin Williams as a hack novelist and murder suspect who tracks Pacino's (possibly) wayward bullet and subsequent cover-up. Then, enter a plot complication allowing Williams's character to extort Pacino through a series of "You know we're the same, you and me" dialogues. The film works eagerly to play with the morality of pragmatism, but the sympathy afforded Pacino's sleep-deprived cop prevents the film from muddling around convincingly in anything like an ethical grey area. Underutilized is Hilary Swank, as a plucky local cop and Will Dormer fan girl. There's plenty to like about her watching as her idol, assailed by sleeplessness and guilt, unravels in front of her, but there's not enough of it. Still, the film is worth watching (or re-watching) for Wally Pfister's dazzling cinematography, which beautifully renders the film's sub-arctic infrastructure. This Blu-Ray release is packed with bonuses, including scene-specific commentaries by Nolan, Swank, Pfister, screenwriter Henry Seltz and others, a "Making Of" feature, an unscripted (and barely audible) conversation between Nolan and Pacino, and more. Apart from Nolan entering the pantheon of "greatest directors ever to make movies ever of all time" in the wake of The Dark Knight and Inception, it's unclear why anybody would need all this extra information about Insomnia. It's a passably solid thriller, but nothing to lose sleep over. (Warner)