Monday, July 14, 2014

Insomnia | The ALASKAthon

I've decided to finish the left-up work and continue the ALASKAthon as a final installment on this blog. Maybe it's because I cut my toe and am thus excluded from most fun summer activities or maybe it's because I just don't want to leave my blog as a half-baked mess. Better to end things neatly if you really have to end them. 

When I started the ALASKAthon, people told me that I might not want to go to Alaska anymore after having seen these movies. This prepared me for many unlikable, cold characters and the quietude and brutality that I've found in many of the films I chose. While this may sound off-putting to many readers and filmgoers, I have found many of the characters in films like Insomnia to be less black-and-white than just very realistic human beings. People that struggle with morals and their past, who (in most cases) have come to Alaska to start a new life. 

In Insomnia, there are two people who fit that profile: Los Angeles police agent Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and mediocre author Walter Finch (Robin Williams). The nature of the story, a crime thriller with quite a few twists, forbids me to talk more in-depth about these two characters and their internal struggles. But their similarities and differences and the shared insomnia make for a fascinating, character-driven film that questions every human's ability to commit homicide and whether the end justifies the means. 

Al Pacino and Robin Williams deliver two haunting performances and play off each other most of the movie. Their quiet conversations on the phone and in other places are hypnotizing and deeply psychological. Hilary Swank as a clever police officer workaholic is the obvious antipole to the two bitter men and once again convinces me that she is a highly underrated actress. 

The marooned Alaskan small town setting, the ever-present sunlight and the variety of grey tones in the characters are what make Insomnia one of the most intriguing crime thrillers of the 2000s that I've seen. Being the first 'real' Hollywood installment in this blogathon, it's an interesting mixture of a stylized approach to the Alaskan wilderness and the human conflicts it contains and a cunningly scripted emotional thriller that leaves you on the edge of your sledge.  


How capturing/ engaging/ interesting is the film? (out of 5 northern lights)

How gorgeous does the film - or the Alaska in it - look? (out of 5x Timothy Treadwell's hair)

How much does the film itself make you want to go to Alaska? (out of 5 sledges)

2002 • USA/ Canada • English

director Christopher Nolan
authors Hillary Seitz, Nikolaj Frobenius, Erik Skjoldbj√¶rg
★ Al Pacino, Hilary Swank, Robin Williams


  1. Glad you enjoyed it! I loved the way insomnia is depicted in the film, and features one of my favorite Al Pacino performances. The direction is good too, Nolan's films are always interesting(whether you like them or not). Perhaps a sleeping mask is worth considering for your trip? Could be the answer :)

    1. I'm glad too, it was one of the films I was most excited to see. Insomnia is such an interesting topic, especially in movies. Ever since Fight Club, I've been intrigued by it. I've liked all of Nolan's films so far but then again, I haven't seen all of them. As for the trip, I already have a sleeping mask - even German summer nights are too light for me! But I'm considering to buy a Breakfast at Tiffany's one.

  2. Great review Mette! This is definitely one of the most intriguing modern crime thrillers I've seen. A great film but one that, no, does not make me want to visit Alaska. Ha.

    1. I only put two sleighs because: one for those gorgeous highways and one for the two sexy voices. At least I'm sure I'll find some of those highways.


Let the discussion begin!