Over the last decade, so much attention has been focused, first on Memento, then on Batman Begins and finally on Dark Knight that many movie buffs are unaware that in-between the first two movies Christopher Nolan also directed a fine movie called Insomnia.
Hey, some moviegoers are so consumed with Memento and its unusual, non-linear narrative style that they almost come in their undies jetties at the mere mention of this movie.
Here’s what one gushing SI reader ejaculated about Memento recently:
Memento was faaaar better than Insomnia.. so faaar that they can’t be in the same sentence….plot-wise, Memento was better than TDK.. much better
Ha ha ha.
Guess the wifey had to use a double-spoon of Tide to wash off the stains. 😉
Folks, far be it for us to say that Memento is a bad movie because it’s not. Memento is a good movie that deserved the hype and hoopla bestowed on it.
But at the same time let’s not lose sight of the fact Insomnia is a very engaging film too and one that made almost three times the money at the box-office that Memento did (Source: Christopher Nolan’s Filmography on Wiki).
Memento was not every one’s cup of tea but Insomnia certainly seemed so (at least going by the box-office numbers).
Given the imminent release of Christopher Nolan”s new movie Inception (Leonardo DiCaprio), we’ve been watching/rewatching some of his movies.
Last week, we rewatched Dark Knight on DVD and were swept away by the Joker’s viciousness and his total lack of rules.
As Alfred explains to Batman:
Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with.
Some men just wanna watch the world burn.
Who having watched Dark Knight can forget the image of the Joker in the nurse’s uniform and the weird gait looking back at the chaos he has wrought in the hospital and pressing a few buttons on the cell-phone brings it all down in a fiery explosion.
Burn baby, burn.
Ah, the stuff of legend.
Insomnia – Sleepless in Alaska
Yesterday, we got a chance to see Nolan’s 2002 film Insomnia (Al Pacino, Hilary Swank and Robin Williams), a movie we hadn’t seen before.
And what a delightful treat Insomnia turned out to be.
Sure, Insomnia doesn’t have the gee whiz narrative tricks of Memento but it amply makes up for its conventional treatment with a gripping story, a fine setting in Port Alberni, British Columbia (standing in for the Alaskan town of Nightmute) and the nonpareil Al Pacino.
And the ever-present tension.
Two Los Angeles cops, the legendary Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and his younger colleague Hap Eckhart (Martin Donavan) arrive in Nightmute, Alaska to assist in the investigation of a 17-year old girl’s brutal murder.
Both cops are already tense and under considerable pressure since they are under investigation back home by their fellow officers for planting evidence in a different case.
There’s also tension between the two cops with Hap making it clear to Will that he intends to cut a deal with the investigators.
Plus the tension of investigating the horrifying murder.
As Will and Hap, along with the local cops, get close to nabbing the murderer, the killer escapes but tragedy strikes when one of the cops is killed in the chase amidst thick fog in the area.
Deeply disturbed by the cop’s death and haunted by it, unable to sleep because of daylight even during the night and the looming threat of prosecution hanging over his head in the LAPD internal investigation, Will’s condition slowly deteriorates.
Compounding the tension, the killer starts calling Will, taunting him.
Al Pacino renders a brilliant performance of the tense, insomniac cop, almost losing his mind.
But he doesn’t although the sleep-deprived Will begins to see things that aren’t there and hear noises when there aren’t any.
Will plots but the killer forces the issue.
You see, we’re dealing with a smart killer here (Robin Williams), who’s got a few aces of his own.
No, it ain’t easy to bring him to justice.
Multiple twists helps to maintain the tension and enhance the drama in a beautiful setting.
Robin William and Hilary Swank do a decent job but Insomnia is Al Pacino’s film simply because he has a bigger, central role.
Kudos to Nolan for keeping up the tension and for the unpredictable elements that add to the allure of the film.
All in all, Insomnia is another feather in Nolan’s cap and most definitely worth watching.