Crime never sleeps. Neither does Will Dormer (AL PACINO), a veteran LAPD homicide detective sent north to Alaska to head a murder case. There his investigation is disrupted by an ever-shining Midnight Sun that wreaks sleep-depriving havoc on his body clock and brings Dormer's shady, guilt-plagued past into the light of day.
As a more conventional follow-up to his innovative thriller Memento
, Christopher Nolan's Insomnia
offers ample proof that his skills are genuine. A superbly crafted remake of the 1997 Norwegian thriller, this moody police procedural is transplanted to a remote Alaskan town, where a veteran Los Angeles detective (Al Pacino) arrives to investigate the murder of a teenaged girl. Professional tragedy collides with psychological turmoil as the detective suffers from sleeplessness under the region's perpetual daylight, and a local rookie cop (Hilary Swank) begins to suspect that truths are being hidden as the disturbing case unfolds. While the Alaskan setting intensifies the atmospheric mystery, Pacino's bleary-eyed disorientation adds a rich layer to his character's erratic behavior, and the casting of Robin Williams as the killer was a risk that pays off nicely. In many respects better than the original, Insomnia
is a Hollywood remake that's refreshingly free of compromise. --Jeff Shannon