NUTSHELL RECAP: “Wake me when it’s over……….”
If you suffer from insomnia, then this film is the perfect cure…………. ………….. sorry, I fell asleep again. Don’t get me wrong, I think Al Pacino is one of the best, but he dragged out his role of Will Dormer, a beaten-up LA detective sent to Alaska, like you’d hit the sack after a day without night. (Alaska in the summer time – if you didn’t get it and “Dormer” for the cop’s last name in case the point has to get driven home with an ice pick) – Clever title… Insomnia………yawn….
Okay, enough sleepy puns. I found Director, Christopher Nolan, tried too hard to build to a check and checkmate situation between Pacino’s character and Robin Williams’ reclusive-esoteric-novelist-driven-to-murder persona. It didn’t work. At least it strained at the seams of credibility. Williams obviously wasn’t comfortable playing the part, while Pacino had played his a thousand times before. The scenes were stiff and predictable. Hilary Swank, playing the neophyte-country-cop, enamored-by-the-presence-of-an-LA-SuperCop was good, but again so un-inventive. At least she was pleasant to look at. Most of the time we saw Pacino’s puffed up, pasty, dark-circled face or Williams in extreme close up – a bear could have crawled into his nostril and slept for the winter.
Director, Christopher Nolan uses Ken Hixon’s screenplay to the edge and has De Niro at this best. Frances McDormand is wonderfully targeted as the girlfriend who keeps getting hit with more of De Niro’s character’s baggage than a human should. She is quietly brilliant. James Franco looks perfectly sick and plays against De Niro with enough authority to carry his role.
Nolan, attempted to save this endless daylight savings time sleeper (sorry, I’m doing it again) with some action scenes. Shooting at shadows in a fog bank. Then the final conflict between the central characters, was done with so much camera movement and cut in what seemed to be 2 frame clips, that they probably did it after the stars went home. The sound effects were the only clues as to what was going on.
I’m really sorry again, mainly for the power talent “used” in this film. It’s a poor remake of the 1997 Norwegian version written by the same guys. Obviously nothing’s changed.
Bottom Line – I can hear it now… “Hey, as a final shot, Hilary, stand there over Al and look sad while I zoom out… Okay, that’s a wrap. Let’s get some sleep.”