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Germany 2003




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Insomnia (2002)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Actors:   Al Pacino,

                Robin Williams     

                Hilary Swank

Screenplay:  Nikolaj Frobenius

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I must confess - I had not heard about this film at all until I saw it on the shelf in the video shop. I saw Williams and Pacino, and debated about hiring it - but then saw that Swank was involved, and picked it up immediately. What would have been a good quality but slightly stale film was totally uplifted by Swank being involved. Just my thought anyway.

'Insomnia' is essentially a small, crime-plot film that embarks on combining this genre with the psychanalytical, complex underworld of the psychological thriller. To a certain extent, it succeeds, the bizzarre camera work and cuts delivering more than just a crime-novel on film.
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However, how much more the film succeeds is open to question. Many good ideas are ignored, or not explored thoroughly. The idea of the main character, Pacino, suffering from 'insomnia' is disorienting and portrayed through some bizarre and nauseating camera work, which makes the viewer feel like they are the sufferer. The stunning locations are great, however the native-american side of the coin was not even touched apon.
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The actors, are as expected from this group, superb. On paper, the quality present in this trio is unlike anything ever touched in other films this year. Al Pacino slots nicely into the role of the 'good' cop who is getting old (maybe Pacino is?), and Robin Williams is once again amazing in his shift from comedy to a - heaven forbid - Lecter-like performance as the estranged author. Swank suffered some minor critism for her role, which, as one critic said was just a "Sandra Bullock" character. What really shines in Swank here however, is how well she BECOMES this "Sandra Bullock" character. This actress is argueably one of the most talented and most sensible of the new era, and has backed up her well-deserved Oscar win with several captivating performances.
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The storyline is basically a hunt for a killer combined with a "good cop turned bad" subplot. These plots complement each other, however leave the viewer with missplaced sympathies. Williams portrays the killer with such passion and panache that at times he is more likeable than the almost-delerious Pacino. The cop's personal crisis push him away from the viewer slightly, who side instead with the young-but-honest Alaskan cop, played by Swank. The reasons for this is not one of acting, however of story - a serial killer type, by definition, must kill more than one person.

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This is a fine film - not a great one, but a very decent fine one. These three stunning actors all succeed in their own way: Pacino's well known and established performance complements Swank's seemless and upbeat intergration into her latest role, while Williams blows audiences away yet again with another diverse performance. A good story, with a few minor hitches, propells the Alaskan wilderness into our homes, and we are left feeling refreshed and renewed by yet another experience of good triumphing over evil.


One of the most talented actresses of the last decade: Swank

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