Friday, December 10, 2010

Insomnia Review

Insomnia is a fairly interesting film, the plot having that "Nolan" feel (actually its more Nolan Brothers, both Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan write essentially every film they do, but no one ever mentions the brother) where its fairly unpredictable with an assload of foreshadowing. This was fairly early in Nolan's career and it doesn't seem quite as polished as most of the newer films. To criticize Nolan himself is difficult, but since the film is set in Alaska they could have done with more beautiful setpieces, but most of the time it just looks like a random town in the midwest. Other than that the problems are not really the director's fault.

Around 1991 (After the Godfather III came out) Al Pacino randomly decided to stop acting altogether, and instead became AL PACINO who YELLS AT EVERYONE IN EVERY SCENE FOR NO REASON. There are a few films that this works great in (Scarface and Glen Garry Glen Ross), others that it is competent in (Godfather III and Heat), and others that it is merely serviceable at best (Most other Pacino films). Because of this metamorphosis we've basically been robbed of one of our finest actors and replaced him with an idiot, alas. Anyway, AL PACINO is who shows up in this film, with several different random yelling scenes. When he doesn't yell he's fairly competent, but I can't help but think how good this film would be with Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson, or Russell Crowe instead of Pacino (who was still a big name at the time of this movie's release).

Robin Williams plays a funnyman who turns out to be a pervert... err no wait this time he's just a pervert. Always nice. He's the most creative character of the bunch next to Hillary Swank, but that's mostly due to Nolan's writing. I don't think Robin Williams is terrible in his role but he still seems merely serviceable, as much as the Genie from Aladdin being a child murderer is entertaining he didn't evoke any sense of dread the whole time. Hillary Swank on the other hand is outstanding, pretty much flawless in her role as a young/inquisitive police officer who communicates with the "legendary typecast cop" Pacino, who's from out of town because he's got baggage there he's been moved away from so he can't taint it, dun dun dun. Swank is so good I'm somewhat inclined to see Million Dollar Baby now, despite the generally "meh" reviews.

Overall this is a film with a lot of potential, several big name actors, and an intriguing plot which is let down by weak set pieces and overall mediocre acting. The music is alright, and the general idea of the sun never setting in the Arctic Circle for 6 months is interesting, it just isn't used very well here. Nolan was soon to make much much better films, but this one is still watchable and still occasionally gives you mysterious urgency as you try to work your way through the plot in your head. It does not live up to the other films, but its sort of a template for success without the right pieces.

Final Grade 7/10*

Note I don't watch all that many bad movies or play that many terrible games so 7/10 is generally the lowest score you'll see me give. Occasionally I'll go watch a bad movie in theaters and there's some mild chance I'll review Transformers 2 for the hell of it sometime, but until then (Tron and Narnia here I come).

No comments:

Post a Comment