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Generally favorable reviews- based on 215 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 14 out of 215

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  1. Dec 14, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. An exceptional film, but not "better than" the original Norwegian version. The original is creepier and more morally compromised than the American version. Pacino's Dormer is ultimately redeemed, whilst Skargard's Engstom is not. Expand
  2. Nov 17, 2012
    It's brilliantly cast and stunningly effective.
  3. Feb 21, 2011
    Christopher Nolan knocks one out of the park again. Insomnia is everything you want in a crime thriller. He manages to cultivate and maintain an atmosphere of general dread, malice and suspense. Al Pacino is as great as we expect him to be and Robin Williams is something a bit more unexpected but completely welcomed. Filled with outstanding performances, beautiful cinematography, and terrific editing. Not to mention incredibly well written and directed, all thanks to Christopher Nolan. (With no small thanks going to the original short story written by Jonathan Nolan.) Expand
  4. 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
  5. Feb 22, 2013
    Insomnia was the second major motion picture by acclaimed writer/director, Christopher Nolan. Even in the most early stages of his career, it's easy to see his genius, that's why so many big stars wanted to work with him right away. Insomnia is the least well known of all his films and does lack some of the things that have become Nolan's trademark, but it's still a terrific film. The story follows two L.A. Detectives sent to a remote part of Alaska, where the sun doesn't set for six months and then doesn't rise for six months. They're there to solve a brutal and calculated murder, but circumstances lead them down a different path. Despite being one of the best Hollywood has to offer, I haven't really been much of a Pacino fan. To me, it seemed as though he had lost something with age, his performance in Insomnia proved me wrong. Terrific is not the word for what Al Pacino was and he's not the only genius Nolan surrounded himself with. This film is incredibly well written and being the perfectionist that he is, Nolan got only the best people to star in it. It's not the kind of Nolan film, we've been spoiled with over the past 10 years, but Insomnia is a great story, with an unbelievable cast and in my opinion is a must see. 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.
  7. Nov 7, 2014
    Like the title, Insomnia will keep you awake and tuned in because of the directing but an incomplete and sub par ending make you wish you didn't have to focus so hard the entire film.
  8. 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. Collapse
  9. Mar 26, 2014
    Good director, great actors, a story with some twists and a lot of moral dilemmas. The movie keeps in tension. Overall, a decent detective/thriller/drama movie.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Jul 8, 2013
    Insomnia is a great thriller with a great plot and some fascinating actors like Al Pacino and Hillary Swank. It is not a masterpiece like Se7en but you will not get bored and you will like the film. It doesn´t have something special but it is just an entertaining crime film with some suspense in it
  14. Jul 1, 2014
    Insomnia might be the most flawless movie from our beloved director Christoffer Nolan.

    Insomnia is an exiting and well made movie, which also has a gorgeous story and an awesome ending. It's also a highly unique movie, and combined with great actors couldn't the film been done better. The story in Insomnia is marvelous, because it's so mysterious.

    Insomnia is much better than it's
    predecessor Memento, and you can really feel that Nolan is on track to make the perfect movie.

    Insomnia gets a 8/10
  15. Nov 12, 2013
    Insomnia will keep you awake.
    Al Pacino stars in the mystery thriller that entertains but fails to reach a conclusion. A very well directed idea with a sub-par ending that doesn't allow it to reach its potential.
  16. Jul 21, 2014
    Al Pacino gives one of his best performances, and Robin Williams also gives one of his most innovative performances as well, Hilary Swank also gives a stellar performances but the key of this movie is Nolan's direction and writing

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic 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. Nolan creates an effective thriller, although he keeps his stylistic pyrotechnics to a minimum.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A perfect fit between filmmaker (Memento's Christopher Nolan) and material (Norway's same-name psycho-chiller from 1997), this remake gets all there is to get out of a peculiar premise with promise.