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I’ve had a good week.  Two sneak previews in two days…  YAY me!  I already sent in a super early Windtalkers review, and this time I’m writing in with a review of Chris Nolan’s new thriller, Insomnia.  This was a pretty interesting deal; the movie was actually simulcast to different universities, with over 30,000 students watching coast-to-coast!  After the movie, we were treated to a LIVE chat with Chris Nolan!  We could call in with questions and if we were lucky we’d actually get to ask Chris a question!


Anyhoo, on with the movie stuff, slight spoilers ahead.  Since the movie was “broadcast” over satellite to one of the lecture halls on campus, we only had one speaker in the front of the hall.  I didn’t get to experience full surround sound and such, but this movie doesn’t rely too heavily on amazing sound.  You guys already know the plot (LA cop comes to middle of nowhere to solve murder, but the murderer is a little too smart and ends up blackmailing him), and know that it is a remake of a 1997 Norwegian film, so I won’t discuss those.  So, on to the dissection…

In this movie, you’ve got the seasoned veteran with some skeletons in his closet, Will Dormer (Al Pacino), the eager rookie Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank), and the bad guy Walter Finch (Robin Williams).  Acting wise, this movie has tons of acting talent.  Al Pacino, is of course, amazing.  According to Chris Nolan’s chat afterwards, Pacino is in every scene in the movie but two, and filmed 52 out of 54 days!  As the days go by without Dormer getting any sleep, hence the title, Al Pacino’s voice and body language get more and more gritty and tired.  I wonder if he is one of those actors who will go without sleep for a while in order to play someone who hasn’t slept for days…  Regardless of his methods, Pacino is great.  Hilary Swank has a much smaller role than Pacino or Williams, but she holds her own against them.  Nothing remarkable about her performance, but the girl can definitely act. 


Then we have God.  Or you may know him as Robin Williams.  Robin’s role as a killer in this movie is considerably smaller than Pacino’s; he doesn’t even show up until an hour into the movie, but #$@$ he’s good!  I have to say, I LOVE Robin Williams.  I got the amazing opportunity to see his new stand-up show at Phoenix’s Dodge Theater on April 23rd, and I laughed for the entire two hours. This man is hilarious.  He is also a great dramatic actor.  I loved The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting, and his recent darker roles in Death To Smoochy and now, Insomnia.  The man has such good presence on stage, and his delivery and facial expressions are flawless.  Even in an evil role like this, I still love watching this man work.  I can’t wait for One Hour Photo


Cinematography was very interesting in this movie.  It’s hard to compare it to Memento however, because of the nature of Memento as a film.  There are some great opening shots of the Alaskan landscape, and Chris Nolan manages to capture the tired feeling of having insomnia throughout the whole movie.  The entire flick takes place in Alaska, so don’t expect a lot of color.  There are a lot of grays and brown, and it all just adds to the atmosphere of the movie.


Overall, I quite enjoyed Insomnia.  It could be a little slow at times, but what do you expect from a movie titled from a sleep disorder?  Not too predictable, and very interesting.  Not as blow-you-away cool as Memento, but a solid outing by Nolan.