Insomnia is director Christopher Nolan’s first film since last year’s Memento, and it is a stunner. In this remake of a Norwegian film made in 1998 by Erik Skjoldbjaerg, Nolan has cast three Oscar winners – Al Pacino and Hillary Swank play police officers chasing down a dangerous psychopath played by Robin Williams. Nolan set the film in Alaska, and makes good use of the location, particularly in the opening credit sequence as the camera follows a two-engine prop plane across the unforgiving jagged ice ridges. A foot chase on moving logs provides excitement, but the best thrills here are psychological. This is a film for adults. Insomnia is a serious thriller that relies not only on action, but on issues of guilt and morality to propel the story. Al Pacino hands in his best performance in years, although his accent seems to change from one scene to another. Robin Williams impresses, playing the homicidal Walter Finch with a chilling intensity that should forever put an end to the Mrs. Doubtfire typecasting pit he fell into in the 90s. Swank as the smart small-town cop delivers a multi-layered performance that is completely believable.
Posts Tagged ‘Insomnia’
It should, the movie is an American remake of a Swedish art house hit from less than twelve months ago. Let Me In, the English language remounting of Låt den rätte komma in, joins a long list of movies to paste an American stamp on its cinematic passport.
Let Me In is earning good reviews for its respectful treatment of the source material but that is not always the case. Critic Tom O’Neil warned, “Chances are, with the remake, Hollywood is just serving up re-fried beans that aren’t very tasty.”
Re-hashes like Weekend at Bernie’s, which was loosely based on the Indian cult classic Jane Bhi Do Yaaron and the Thai film Bangkok Dangerous, which won the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival international critics’ Award only to be retooled as a big budget, small-brained Nic Cage movie, have left a bad taste in viewer’s mouths but not all remakes are unpalatable.
The Departed, the Irish Mafia movie that gave Martin Scorsese his long deserved Best Director Oscar, was based on the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.
Critics loved Scorsese’s film, giving it a 93 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although Infernal Affairs star Andy Lau grumbled, “The Departed was too long,” and Andrew Lau, the original’s co-director said, “of course I think the version I made is better but the Hollywood version is pretty good too.”
Also pretty good is Insomnia, Christopher Nolan’s 2002 remake of a 1997 Norwegian film of the same name. Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, the original’s story of a disgraced Swedish detective, played by Stellan Skarsgård, who struggles to solve a brutal murder case in northern Norway is a gritty psychological drama which writer Peter Cowie said “represents European cinema at its most challenging.”
The U.S. remake, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank is a much different film. Roger Ebert said, “unlike most remakes, the Nolan Insomnia is not a pale retread, but a re-examination of the material, like a new production of a good play.”
These U.S. remakes have always been with us, and regardless of how Let Me In fares at the box office, are unlikely to stop. For better or for worse plans are already underway for an English remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig.