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Insomnia (Widescreen Edition)

444 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
Photo gallery
Theatrical Trailer

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

Special Features

  • Additional scene with commentary
  • "Day for Night" making of documentary
  • "180 Degrees": A Conversation with Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino
  • "In the Fog": Cinematography and production design
  • "Eyes Wide Open": The insomniac's world
  • Stills Gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Martin Donovan, Oliver 'Ole' Zemen
  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Writers: Erik Skjoldbjærg, Hillary Seitz, Nikolaj Frobenius
  • Producers: Andrew A. Kosove, Ben Cosgrove, Broderick Johnson, Charles J.D. Schlissel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 15, 2002
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (444 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006IUL7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,145 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Insomnia (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 179 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Andrew Bono on May 4, 2002
Insomnia, director Chris Nolan's second full length feature, doesn't have the same gut-wrenching and mind-bending plot twists that his feature length debut, Memento, had, but does an excellent job telling an original and gripping detective mystery.
The pleasure of Insomnia is to be found in its rich cinematography, beautiful landscapes, and excellent performances. The movie is one of the most visually compelling pieces of filmmaking I have seen in years, creating surreal juxtapositions with the vast, harsh Alaskan landscape and with close-up shots of crime scene evidence. The amazing visual landscapes (both large and small) are used effectively by director Nolan to emphasize the films themes of isolation and overpowerment, of losing oneself within ones environment and in ones choices.
Insomnia's plot will disappoint those looking for a new Memento, in that it does not have the sort of turns of action and motivation that Memento does. Insomnia works well without elaborate plot twists, however, it's mood benefits from a certain lack of ambiguity of action, although the ending is perhaps a little to predictable and cliched. Insomnia would have benefited, however, from more ambiguity of motivation - while the acting is top notch, especially on the part of Robin Williams, the connections between the characters actions and their motivations and decisions is too closely drawn by the script.
Overall Insomnia is an excellent movie, and a good entry into the detective/suspense movie cannon. It suffers slightly from a couple of bad edits (in a movie filled with amazing editing and shooting) and from its desire to clearly spell out the principle characters motivations, but these minor flaws are more than redeemed by the director's excellent camerawork and sense of pacing, a strong script, and very solid acting performances. Insomnia is a must see movie, and a welcome change from the "blockbuster" summer movie scene of 2002.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on June 9, 2002
In "Insomnia," directed by Christopher Nolan, Al Pacino plays Will Dormer, a Los Angeles police detective. While a controversy swirls around him and his partner, Dormer travels to a small town in Alaska to help with a murder investigation. This assignment leads him into a tension-filled cat-and-mouse game with creepy mystery writer Walter Finch (played by Robin Williams). As an added twist, the story takes place during the Alaskan summer, when there is endless daylight; amidst this inescapable light, Dormer suffers from the malady of the film's title.
"Insomnia" is a gripping, stylishly made film. The gritty action sequences have a low-tech realism that is a welcome change from the typically overdone Hollywood action thing. The performances are outstanding. Williams gets a lot of mileage out of his effectively low-key interpretation of Finch. Veteran character actor Paul Dooley brings warmth and subtle authority to his role as a small town cop, and Hilary Swank is a superb foil for Pacino in her role as an eager young cop. Pacino is excellent as the film's flawed protagonist. His performance is truly harrowing.
"Insomnia" succeeds as a suspense drama. The motif of endless daylight is well used throughout the film, and is weighted with potential symbolic meaning. More than just a good thriller, "Insomnia" also raises some relevant moral and ethical issues.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marty From SF HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 24, 2002
Format: DVD
Director Christopher Nolan hit artistic and cinematic paydirt with his underappreciated, "Memento". This latest effort is different in style and story, but repeats all the same mysterious character flaws in a landscape that's as beautiful as it is foreboding.
Pacino, Williams and Swank all deliver spectacular performances and Pacino is incredible as the "respected" high ranking detective who has terrible secrets only to accidentally get in deeper. His consience keeps him 'awake' and his craggy face and tired eyesacks show it. Williams is just as creepy and frighteningly clever in his role, never reminding you that he is also a comedian. Swank plays the young, awe-struck cop with ease, who also faces a problem of conscience as she gets to know her mentor, Pacino. This secrecy and disallusionment seems to be the motif Nolan sets into the characters.
The scenery is spectacular, but also, as shown in several scenes, not to be trusted - just like the main characters.
It's a tension filled, medium action film that will keep you mesmerized until the end. It doesn't matter if the ending is slightly predictable, it's the ride that matters.
DVD includes all the typical Director's commentary (very interesting), making of documentary, theater trailers, etc. Best of all is a sequence into the life of an 'insomniac'. It gives the story all that more credibility.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon Eric Davidson on January 21, 2003
Format: DVD
Having seen the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, I was eager to see how the American-ized version of "Insomnia" would play out. Without delving too far into the comparisons that have been thoroughly detailed in prior reviews, I will say that this is one of the finer examples of how to film a remake.
This version of "Insomnia" takes place in a remote Alaskan port city, and revolves around the murder of a young girl. However, as the movie unfolds, the murder slowly becomes only a small piece of a much more expansive, provoking, intense character drama.
From a cinematographical perspective, the haunting beauty of Alaska is captured perfectly. In a way unique when compared to other films, the landscape is intertwined with the plot, further exposing the loneliness and isolation, while paradoxically highlighting its stark contrast with murder, death, and psychological demons. The sequence of the hunt/shooting amidst a thick, impenetrable fog is riveting and conveys a high level of tension, as the viewer shares in the disorientation the fog creates.
"Insomnia" is driven by characters and acting, and a strong cast is assembled. Al Pacino - as expected - is wonderful in his portrayal of the world-weary city cop who escapes an Internal Affairs investigation by coming to investigate this murder. In many ways, we have seen Mr. Pacino in this role on numerous occasion, and he demonstrates this with the comfortable ease in which he carries his role. However, as his sleep-deprivation - caused by the long hours of daylight - intensifies, Mr. Pacino takes his character to a remarkable next level, as he battles to cover his questionable investigative practices and battle the psychological demons tied to similar practices in cases being investigated by Internal Affairs back in Los Angeles.
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