(2002/Warner Bros Blu-ray)
B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B Film: B+
of the original 1997 Norwegian film, Insomnia
stars Robin Williams, Al Pacino and Hilary Swank. Insomnia
is an obsessively twisted tale directed by the dark, yet elegant
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight). Insomnia
was Nolan’s next venture after dazzling audiences with his fanatical mind
trip in Memento. Being one to never disappoint Nolan created
an dark world in the eerie wilderness of sunny Alaska; though this time he did not where
his triple hat of writer/director/producer, satisfied with taking a rest as
stars Al Pacino as detective Will Dormer who along with his partner Hap Eckhart
(Martin Donovan) is brought to the Alaskan town of Nightmute to solve the brutal murder of a
young girl. It seems that the detectives
have some alternative motives as well, hiding out from an internal affairs
investigation back in Los Angeles. In Christopher Nolan fashion our main
character (in this case Al Pacino) is plagued with inner turmoil. As an investigation is raging on in LA,
Detective Dormer finds himself riddled with guilt in Alaska.
While chasing the killer down an embankment, Dormer accidentally shoots
the wrong man, but does not admit his fault; instead covering it up. We soon find Detective Dormer in a fragile
state consumed by guilt and immersed in the 24hours of daylight in Northern Alaska unable to sleep. Adding salt to the wound is the killer (Robin
Williams) taunting Pacino’s character at every turn, as he witnessed the
accidental shooting and cover up.
is truly brilliant and insanely depressing.
Nolan takes us on another journey of the obsessed, dragging the
characters through the dirt to come out battered and broken. There is a number on Pacino’s head throughout
the film, but as the film moves forward we increasingly feel the tension
building. In only a way Nolan could, we
as an audience concurrently sympathize, yet detest Pacino for what he has
done. In the end, Nolan again managed to
spin a wonderfully immersive tale of depression, guilt, obsession and inner
technical features on this new Blu-ray are not the highest quality we have seen
for a Christopher Nolan film, but are nevertheless amazingly well done. The 2.40 X 1 aspect ratio impresses in its
AVC-1 1080p encoded transfer as it manages to be very detailed, while not
washing out Nolan’s intended depth and grittiness. The picture adequately balances light and
dark, as detail and texture pop throughout.
The film mainly leans toward the darker hues, but manages to splash
color in here and there when needed. Overall
a quality presentation with nice balance.
The sound is presented in DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 Surround track that is
just as amazing as the picture. Like the
picture the sound is all about balance and this release gets it all too
right. Insomnia’s sound manages to ‘blast and boom’ at the right moments,
just as it can nicely transition into dead silence. The sound effects are superb and everything
projects crisp and clear, with a pristine dialogue track. The track has solid directionality that lends
to the intended atmosphere of the film.
extras are very nice, but are sadly just recycled over from the DVD. I give the extras a high rating because they
were excellent in the first place, but honestly I would have liked new HD
features. The extras include a
Commentary Track with director Christopher Nolan that (as I have known for a
while) is one of the best commentaries out there as it gives the inner workings
of Nolan’s creative process and even goes way beyond that. There is also a Cast/Crew commentary that is
choppy as different parties come and go to give their account on sections of the
film; no where nice as Nolan’s commentary.
180° A Conversation with
Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino is an interesting little extra that
delivers just what it says and shows Nolan as a bright eyed new director. Other extras include 3 featurettes that are
‘blah’ at best and include Day For Night: The Making of Insomnia; In the Fog (another making of); Eyes
Wide Open (about insomniacs); Additional Scenes (optional commentary);
Stills Gallery; Theatrical Trailer. Nice
extras, but would have liked something new.
- Michael P. Dougherty II