Insomnia Review

By Emanuel Ortiz

Insomnia is a rather underrated film in Christopher Nolan’s filmography. It isn’t up to par with some of his recent films such as Interstellar, but it was a great stepping stone for Nolan.

Insomnia follows Detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) who investigates the death of a teenage girl in Alaska. He starts to work with another cop named Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank) who is a bit of a novice. She does great in the role, questioning Dormer and ultimately being a key figure towards the end of the movie. If you can go into the movie with just this in mind, then you will enjoy the movie better. I was aware of something that was going to happen in the movie so I was a bit disappointed, but it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the film. That being said, the story was incredibly engaging, mostly because of Al Pacino and his performance. You really believe he is this detective trying to figure out the mystery of this murder. You learn that he is a detective that does whatever he needs to do in order to get his bad guy. The way he goes into a room and analyzes every little detail is fascinating and is what kept me engaged in the movie. About halfway through, however, the movie takes a shift in story and is no longer about just finding this killer. The second half of the movie, as a result, wasn’t as interesting.

A certain plot point is also introduced halfway into the movie, which is fine and leads to a surprise, but the way it was executed seemed forced. It didn’t seem realistic at all, and as a result, harmed the movie going forward. It’s difficult to explain without spoiling something but once this point happens in the movie, you’ll recognize it.

This movie is called Insomnia mostly because Dormer can’t sleep at night. It wasn’t as big a plot point as one might have expected. He still functions properly during the investigation. Sure, he is tired, but nothing major comes from this. That being said, the ending did look back at the title of this movie and sort of tie it in with a line given by Dormer. It was a very beautiful way to end the movie.

Overall, Insomnia was fascinating towards the beginning but then took an uninteresting turn that led to a rather predictable movie in the second half. The story is paced nicely, ultimately leading to a conclusion with a piece of dialogue that would make any audience member really feel for Al Pacino’s character. He becomes understandable and likable up until the very end.


Grade B-