Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Insomnia' is worth staying awake for

Insomnia (2002)
Starring: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hillary Swank
Director: Chrstopher Nolan
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

In "Insomnia", a big city cop (Pacino) travels to a remote hamlet in Alaska to help solve the brutal rape and murder of a teenaged girl, and to avoid a brewing corruption scandal at home. While his mental state slowly deteriorates due to an inability to sleep in the eternal daylight above the Arctic Circle, he finds himself in a bizarre relationship of mutual blackmailing with the murderer (Williams) while the town's young deputy sheriff (Swank) slowly puts the puzzle together and closes in on both of them.

"Insomnia" is an American remake of a Scandinavian film by the same title, and, unlike the seemingly endless stream of remakes of recent Japanese and Chinese films that are all worse than the originals, this film stands up nicely in comparison. It's a tad too slow--the middle sags almost as bad as the Pacino character on this fourth or fifth day without any real sleep--but the actors are all great in their parts, the script is generally well-crafted, the setting is used to its full potential, and the ending is perfect.

I think people who enjoy thrillers will be happy staying up late to watch "Insomina".

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