Al Pacino, Hilary Swank, Robin Williams, Maura Tierney and Martin
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
certainly won't put you to sleep! It's an exciting little yarn
played out by a few of the finest the "biz" has to
offer. The story loses steam towards the end to the point of
grinding to a sad 'oh-not-that-scene-again' halt after such
a riveting start. That's why the paltry 2 ½ stars ! Just
because of that last thirty minutes of the film, which of course
I will not expose. It's a tad (read: colossaly) far fetched.
I kept thinking too bad they didn't take a cue from thriller
masterpiece Seven and leave Robin Williams off the credits
that would have certainly granted them huge leeway for the crappy
ending they served up (those who are unfamiliar with the reference
please see the Blunt Aside at the bottom of the page).
There are two very positive points to the film: Al Pacino and
Robin Williams' scenes together. Al Pacino is one of those handful
of actor's that simply grabs your interest with his first glance
on screen and refuses to relinquish control till the last bit
of his story is released through his being. Here he has to share
some of his power with a phenomenal Robin Williams. I mean there's
Mork up there not just holding his own with P-A-C-I-N-O but
cementing the scene! Bravo!
goes Los Angeles homicide detectives Dormer (Al Pacino) and
Eckhart (Martin Donovan) are up in Alaska on loan to the local
police department with a gruesome murder of one of those locals,
Will Dormer and his partner Detective Hap Eckhart arrive and
start to piece the puzzle together. They find the murdered girl's
knapsack and set it as bait for the killer.
The whole investigation gets fanucled thanks to a bumbling officer
and while they quickly scramble after the killer Det. Eckhart
is accidentally shot dead, thanks to a thick coastal
fog that's set in causing low visibility.
shouldn't you refrain from shooting if you CAN'T see?
Oh, and what's that? Det. Dormer may have a motive in this shooting
because back in Los Angeles Dormer and Hap are being probed
by Internal Affairs. Hmm. Seems a few of their colleagues have
been busted for taking kickbacks and what not
not in the Badge of Honor's handbook. If you know what I mean.
Detective Eckhart is fixin' to come clean and tell I.A. all
he knows about what he knows, including his partner Dormer.
The tension between the two is pretty thick. Not as thick as
the fog that ultimately costs the "Hap-less" canary
his partner is killed, Det. Dormer gets a tough case of insomnia.
He's freaking out from exhaustion! The fine respected detective
is on his third sleepless day when the killer (Robin Williams)
contacts him. The killer thought it would be swell to chat since
they're both up and all.
killer, aka Walter Finch, knows a little something about Det.
Hap Eckhart's death. Seems he witnessed the shooting. So, Finch
and his wicked mind, thinks perhaps he and Det. Dormer can help
each other out
devise a plan so neither is caught for
their deeds. It's definitely not Dormer's week.
Pacino can do no wrong. Even here he was impeccable in performance
and depth. He's a quick-eyed fellow who has a sparkle rarely
seen. I just want to go to dinner with him in some seedy New
York Italian eatery. Maybe have Bobby (DeNiro) in on the gathering.
We'd sing loud songs, slurp bad wine and eat disgusting amounts
of Marina laden pasta! My only thought for Insomnia and Al?
I wish he had have rethought the ending and spoke up! Though
it is a very Shakespeare ending
all neat and expected.
Swank is reduced to a Nancy Drew Dudley Dooright by-the-books
officer. Even her character's name - Ellie Burr - screams stereotypical
frump. I was surprised how small her pivotal role was.
Maura Tierney shows up as a lodge
keeper who ultimately plays priest for Det. Dormer's late night
confessional. What a wicked waste of talent here. But at least
she's in it!
Williams is a mega-talent. He glides from comedy to drama and
now to maniacal killer. He was super as the poor palooka , Walter,
that accidently happened to kill a gal
beat her to death ( ironically for the audience) because she
laughed at him. Williams' Walt was so average Joe with a kind
smile, he was positively unnerving.
bad Insomnia takes some irrevocable turns into the mediocre.
I wish the writers and producers would sit back, grab a coffee,
read through the piece's end scenes and think about things from
an audiences point of view once in a while! I mean credit people
with having an inkling of intelligence. They had us hook, line
and halibut net till they decided to take the easy way out.
The director, Christopher Nolan (Memento)
did an excellent job again until the end and a few odd choices
of edits for his stars...
You have to see Insomnia, it's cast alone demands it,
but don't expect a refreshing ending delivered with hearty helping
of Pacino and a biggy-size side of Williams, it aint happening.
Recommendation: Halibut Stew with Smoked Halibut and Halibut
aside: Back when the film (starring Brad
Pitt and Morgan Freeman) Seven
came out a rising actor named Kevin
Spacey was cast as John Doe. He took no film credits on
the piece; his name was nowhere to be seen. Thusly, we (the
audience) had no idea who John Doe was. The brilliant thought
was if we saw Spacey's name on the poster, or in the ads, and
yet we didn't see him show up in first part of the film, as
say a cop or rat tattle-tale hood, we'd deduct he'd have to
be killer John Doe. He was a very hot item back then what with
that little Usual Suspects film. Cunning move....excellent