Insomnia- in·som·ni·a (n)
1) Chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time.
2) Film starring Robin Williams as a bad guy.
I don't know about you, but for me, the second of those two options is definitely the more unsettling. After consolidating his position as one of Hollywood's Nice Guys (and, rather more unfortunately, also as one of Hollywood's Mr Duff Film Guys), Robin Williams seems to be in the process of a radical change of image. First with Insomnia and recently with One Hour Film he proves that the man who made millions laugh at his comedic antics is also very capable when it comes to serious drama.
After the initial shock of seeing the rubber-faced funnyman looking deadly serious, even downright sinister, the film itself, based on a 1997 Norwegian film, soon wraps you up in the tense world of a game of cat and mouse. Two detectives are sent from LA to a small Alaskan town to help the local law enforcers investigate a schoolgirl's murder. However, events soon turn bad when one detective (Pacino) accidentally shoots his partner. The suspected killer then helps the detective to cover it up, but at a sleep-reducing price. The tension mounts as the suspect both baits his pursuer and blackmails him over the shooting. Not only that, but the detective has to cope with the investigations of a local policewoman, who deeply admires him, into the shooting, as well as maintaining the framing of an innocent bystander for the death. It's no wonder that his world is starting to fall apart at the seams, and as the days progress, he becomes a haunted man, unable to sleep. Pacino can always be relied on to turn in a steady and fleshed-out performance, but the main interest in this film is Williams. He puts in a competent performance as a character vastly different from anything he has done before, but one gets the feeling that he is still finding his feet and is practising and polishing his new direction. The story is tight, the film is well packaged, and a good follow-up for the director to his hit film Memento.
With some action scenes- chases across wild landscapes- and sweeping shots of lonely, pristine snow-clad hills, Insomnia is belongs to a classier level of psychological thriller. This solid film will prove entertaining to those who want to see something more intelligent and stimulating, as well as satisfying fans of the crime thriller genre.
Rotten Tomatoes Score:
These pages copyright Union Films, 2001-2022. All views expressed in these pages are those of Union Films, and are not necessarily those of the University Of Southampton, or the Students' Union. All logos and trademarks are property of their respective organisations.