Insomnia Movie 2002
Made in-between Memento and Batman Begins, it can be easy to see why Insomnia — much like his debut, Following — is often forgotten-about in the broader conversation about Christopher Nolan's oeuvre. The director's third feature film, a remake of the Norwegian film of the same name (and the director's one-and-only remake to date), was Nolan's first time working with an American studio, and it was the first time he was working with veteran acting titans like Al Pacino and Robin Williams.
It can be easy to see why this movie is seen more as a stepping stone for Christopher Nolan's career rather than a monumental achievement that should be revered in the same way a number of his other, better movies are often discussed and celebrated. But it would be inconsiderate to write Insomnia off as simply a lesser Nolan film, especially as it carries a number of underrated charms.
The story, which follows a sleep-deprived LAPD detective (Al Pacino) and his partner (Martin Donovan) investigating a murder in Alaska, where the sun will often not shine, in order to investigate the murder of a local teen. In terms of Nolan's more ambitious, narratively windy films, Insomnia can easily be seen as something a little more formal and potentially formulaic by the director's high expectations.
But while the story itself doesn't often try to push any new creative or thematic bounds, particularly as a remake, it shouldn't be readily dismissed for being a little more simplistic and focused. Indeed, Insomnia is a great showcase for Nolan's quieter, more tempered creative choices, particularly when it focuses on Al Pacino and a chilling supporting turn from Robin Williams, providing yet another showcase for what the comedic actor could accomplish outside of the laugh department.
In the broad conversation related to Christopher Nolan's filmmaking, Insomnia is certainly a little too somber and grim to be celebrated in full. It can be hard to champion this movie as readily as any number of other movies set to be listed. But Insomnia is, to state an obvious pun, a bit of sleeper hit, allowing Nolan to expand into a bit more traditional storytelling and allowing the director to reach a wider audience until he made his pivotal next film.