Insomnia (2002)

insomnia poster 2002 movie remake al pacino robin williams
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

It is fun to see Pacino caught in a trap and fighting his way out

Kind of mundane crime story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Insomnia

Studio:  Alcon Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  May 24, 2002

MPAA Rating:  R


Just shoot anything that moves is my motto, kid!

Detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and his partner Detective Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) have been called to Alaska to investigate a murder. Things back in the Lower 48 aren’t good for Detective Dormer. He’s the focus of an internal investigation that could lead to men he put away being released and Eckhart is threatening to sign a plea that could implicate Pacino in corruption. When and the police move in on the killer, Dormer accidentally kills Hap.  Now, Dormer can’t sleep in the constant daylight, and he’s part of a cover-up that is getting him more and more involved.  The only person who knows the truth is the real killer Walter Finch (Robin Williams) and Walter wants to work with Dormer to clear both their names.  As Finch and Dormer form an untrusting alliance a rookie officer named Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank) is getting closer to the truth.

Insomnia is directed by Christopher Nolan and a remake of the 1997 Norweigan film by Erik Skjoldbjærg. The movie was well-received, and many critics praised Pacino’s performance as part of the driving force of the movie.


You look like hell…you should consider getting some shut eye.

The story is very smart. It shows corruption at its base. Pacino’s character starts out doing what he thinks is right by using any means to criminals away, but through the course of the movie, his morals change. What starts out as a mistake turns into a cover-up, and a man is destroyed in the process. Add to that constant sunshine, and the character can’t sleep with his conscience which only makes things worse.

Pacino is great as someone who is rapidly losing touch with reality. In the movie you can almost see his mind working and trying to stay one step in front of Robin Williams. I normally am not a Robin Williams fan, but for some reason, he often does work in dramatic movies. Here, it is obvious his character is having fun playing the victim and truly believes in some way that he and Pacino are friends. Hillary Swank doesn’t do much for me in this movie. She’s just way too perky and enamored with Pacino for much of the movie, and I think have a hard time taking her as a serious character later in the movie.


Mr. Dormer, I just want to say you’re really cool!

Nolan does a great job with the picture and the scenery. The film was shot in Alaska and British Columbia, and the locations just eat up the story. I particularly like the log flow scene as it is a pretty terrifying idea of being trapped below these giant logs…being able to see the surface, but not being able to reach it. Every set is just what it needed to be for the movie.

Insomnia is almost Nolan’s forgotten film. After the success and praise of the completely original Memento, Insomnia feels pretty mundane. Then Nolan followed it up with movies like Inception and the Batman films leaving his in between movies like Insomnia and The Prestige are minor films in comparison to his later success. If you have never seen Insomnia it is definitely worth getting and it is one of those movies where it does a good job in comparison to the original film (which also is very good).

Related Links:

Insomnia (1997)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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