Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 178 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: From acclaimed director Christopher Nolan ("Memento") comes the story of Will Dormer (Pacino), a veteran LAPD detective who travels to a small Alaskan town with his partner Hap (Donovan) to investigate the disturbing murder of a seventeen year-old girl. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. 100
    A rare case of an American remake that actually improves on a European movie.
  2. 100
    Something to treasure: a thriller whose style, structure and rhythms are so integrated with the story, you cannot separate them.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Gripping, highly dramatic thriller that more than confirms the distinctive talent of young Brit helmer Christopher Nolan.
  4. 80
    What Nolan does accomplish here that we haven't seen from him before is staging a few horrifyingly effective suspense set pieces -- one of which, in particular, is likely to stay with you for a long time.
  5. Pacino is masterful as the sharp-witted, seen-it-all detective.
  6. 75
    Under the relentless glare of the Midnight Sun, the only darkness is in the hearts and actions of the characters.
  7. 38
    Nolan pushes the twilight-zone atmosphere so hard that it loses its capacity for mystery. When it's not assaulting us with jolting audiovisual expressions of fatigue, this movie plays like a pedestrian response to David Lynch's effortlessly eerie "Twin Peaks."

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 52
  2. Negative: 11 out of 52
  1. Oct 8, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The humble beginnings of Christopher Nolan became quite popular after he took over the Batman reigns, 'Insomnia' offers a thoughtful and intriguing concept in a typical story of homicide. Al Pacino plays the gruff and seasoned detective sent to the mountainous regions of Alaska to investigate the murder of a young teen girl, but we immediately begin to understand the life of Pacinos character, Will Dormer. He knows the ins and outs of how to study a crime scene, looking for the little details, but he also seems exhausted, soaking up life through routine as a man who has seen it all, tired, possibly bored but still able to show up the young blood at any given turn. His younger partner Eckhart (Martin Donovan) respects the decisions of his superior, but he also has the opportunity to give evidence against his older counterpart to Internal Affairs, but their motive in the film is to help out with the murder, where Dormor finds a fan on young and motivated cop Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank), hangs onto every word of the ageing detective. But we he an unexpected and thrilling introduction to the person responsible for the crime, ***SPOILERS*** Dormor and his men stakeout a clue and tragedy strikes when Dormor shoots and kills his partner, this was an accident, right? Dormor is overcome with guilt to the point where he cannot admit his mistake, but one person knows what he did, that person is the man responsible for the young girls death. Robin Williams plays the calm and sophisticated writer, who tells Dormor that it was all an accident, we now have a cat and mouse game, the scenes Pacino and Williams share are excellent, two fine actors, Williams in particular, who proves his talent yet again for dramatic roles, but this style of storytelling is truly fascinating because of its revelations halfway through the film, which are brought down by simplistic and routine Hollywood chase sequences and silly throw-ins to give that blockbuster touch, which are unnecessary, especially when the thrill of the chase, all through dialogue and performances, is already so interesting. Pacino is excellent as the now sleep-deprived cop, who can't even rest away from the world, while Williams plays a cunning adversary who has it all worked out, as he keeps telling us, but its rough justice which wins out, Nolan sets it in remote parts to capture the essence of being alone with your thoughts, while still not escaping the ramifications of something that makes you run away. Expand
  2. Nov 17, 2012
    It's brilliantly cast and stunningly effective.
  3. Feb 4, 2013
    While this is definitely not the best Christopher Nolan film, this was still an amazing film. The cast was amazing and the story was amazing. Finally, we see Robin Williams doing something other than bad comedy. Expand
  4. Mar 9, 2013
    Insomnia isn't so complex and good constructed how other Nolan movies,it doesn't give a big twist at the end or something like that,it isn't mind-blowing and this disturbs me a little.But the story line is still great.The idea,that killing is just evil,when you kill deliberate is brilliant and the cast is perfect. It is not an action blockbuster ,not explosions and so on.Insomnia is thrilling,entertaining and profound.A great movie,that unfortunately be ignored in Nolan's film series. Expand
  5. Jun 19, 2013
    Probably my least favorite Christopher Nolan movie, which says a lot for Nolan. Al Pacino and Hillary Swank give good performances, but the stand out is Robin Williams. Expand
  6. Mar 28, 2013
    Directed by Nolan and starring Al Pacino, Insomnia is nothing short of a thrilling masterpiece. This is a great film for lovers of psychological thrillers. Expand
  7. Aug 21, 2013
    Even though Nolan has several good approaches, Insomnia is nothing more than generic, unspectacular, and forgettable in the long run. Hillary Seitz’s adapted screenplay is laden with crime show stereotypes and gratuitous dialogue but lacks real character development or any unique elements. The best example for this is Hilary Swank who obviously has the most unfavourable role as an aspiring assistant detective that wants nothing more than to get advise from the old-established cop. Due to all of that, remarkable achievements in terms of visuals can’t help the film anymore than Pacino’s dedicated acting and Insomnia is best watched on a weekday evening while eating lunch and conversing with your partner. Expand

See all 52 User Reviews


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