Insomnia (2002) [REVIEW]

 

Remember how awesome Memento was? Goddamn, I certainly do. I was obsessed with that movie. Considering how much of a Christopher Nolan fanboy I was, you can imagine how excited I was to see this movie. I think everyone was a little underwhelmed when this movie came out, but whether or not other people were, I sure as fuck was. How awesome was Memento, and now I get this movie?! I think even then I knew it wasn’t that bad, I was just a little let down. I was probably expecting something more similar to the size and scale of Inception, so I decided to give this bastard another shot. Oh, and it’s a remake of a Norwegian film, and I know that, so I just want to mention it now in case I forget later.

 

Careful in that mist, Thomas Jane might sneak up on you.

It’s the middle of the summer in Alaska, which means the Sun won’t ever actually set for a few weeks. A murder takes place and the local law enforcement contact a former coworker, a hot-shot detective played by Al Pacino, to come in and help with the case. Upon the arrival of Al Pacino and his partner, we learn that the LAPD’s internal affairs department is cracking down on Pacino’s character, and his partner is thinking of testifying against him, which obviously causes tension. After a helpful clue is found in the case of the murdered young girl, there is a stakeout with the hopes of the killer showing up. The killer does show up, and a chase ensues. The chase happens near a river, and it being Alaska, there’s a shit ton of fog and it gets kind of confusing to see the guy. One guy is injured by a bullet, and when Al Pacino fires and hits the suspect, upon closer investigation, he sees that it’s his partner, who then dies. Pacino blames the suspect in hopes that this incident won’t cause all of the cases he’s been involved in to get thrown out and all the suspects set free. This is when the 24 hours of sunlight really starts getting to our detective.

 

“AND BICENTENNIAL MAN WAS A PIECE OF SHIT!”

While still trying to investigate the young girl’s death, Pacino begins getting phone calls from the supposed killer who claims he saw Pacino shoot his partner. After Pacino agrees to a meeting, and the killer, played by Robin Williams,  tries to bargain with the detective, basically saying that if he goes down, he’s bringing the detective down with him. After giving the killer some tips to elude guilt, Pacino is also tampering with evidence that will defend the idea of his partner being killed by anyone other than him. I should mention that throughout the entire film there are quick glimpses of someone washing blood out of the fibers of a shirt, yet it’s never quite made clear who it is or why they’re doing this. As the detective continues to lose touch with reality due to not having slept for days, the killer gets closer to getting away with everything, and a young detective, played by Hilary Swank, is getting close to finding out that Pacino killed his partner. We then learn that the glimpses of someone scrubbing blood into a shirt was Pacino who was planting evidence on a supposed child murderer, and that’s the reason internal affairs was cracking down on him. There ends up being a showdown of sorts that involves Pacino, the killer, and the young detective that results in the killer’s murder and Pacino being critically wounded. After Swank’s character attempts to destroy the evidence pointing out Pacino as the murderer, he stops her, and then says that all he wants to do is get some sleep, and then he dies.

 

And then her dick flopped out.

After realizing that this movie would have a lot more linear of a storyline than Memento, which, to be fair, every goddamn movie ever has a more linear storyline than Memento, it’s quite good. Whether this film takes place in Alaska, Norway, or in L.A., it’s still an interesting story, just nothing really sets it apart. The subject matter is relatively dark, and it’s definitely a thriller, bordering on elements of noir. When it comes to thrillers or noir films, they are typically always dark or underlit, so the gimmick of everything always being really bright is what makes this film stand out. Considering the film is called Insomnia, obviously the lack of sleep for the main character causes mistakes in judgement and there are a few scenes really showing the character become almost hypnotized and almost hallucinate. This really exaggerates Pacino’s lapses in judgement and self-doubt over whether or not he has covered his tracks successfully. Add to that the fact that the aesthetics of a brightly lit noir-esque film, and this really is an underappreciated film. Maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t appreciate though, and I’m the asshole.

 

Wolfman Moon Scale


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