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May 28, 2002


Let's take a second to

Let's take a second to talk about Insomnia. Now, all sorts of people are saying it's quite good and so on, but I have to tell you that on a scale of 1 to 10, I am giving it a 6. Here's why:

  • The screenplay. Some sublety but, ultimately, we've seen it all before. Robin William's character's motivation, IMO, is never fully explained. Is it self-preservation? Well, nothing else about him really seems to show anything other than self-destruction. What about Pacino? When he makes the big mistake, why doesn't he just say, "I made a big mistake." People get away with much worse. I guess he wasn't thinking clearly after missing two nights of sleep?
  • The acting. Robin Williams was (like Madonna) flat as a flounder, and Pacino didn't break drastically enough from his usual style...I think director Chris Nolan may have been too intimidated to coax Pacino out of his shell. Pacino does this thing, pointed out to me by my friend S., in which he never looks at the person he is talking to. How annoying! I was thinking about it yesterday, and determined that he does it as a way of directing the audience's attention so that it is always on him, instead of making the scene about him and the character he is interacting with. Very selfish, Al. Very selfish. Hilary Swank came off us a puppy without much depth. It's funny to me that in a movie starring Robin Williams, Al Pacino, and Hilary Swank, the performance I liked most was that of the murder victim's teenage boyfriend. Sort of reminiscent of Joaquin Phoenix in To Die For, but with a more foreceful personality.
I did, however, like the cinematography a lot. It captured the cold and thin atmosphere up there far better than the script, I think...so much so, that the warmth of most of the characters seemed out of place. Except for some aerial shots, all the location shooting was done in British Columbia, not northern Alaska, and you can pretty much tell. I think the movie would have gained something if the studio and Nolan had swallowed the tough medicine of shooting the film where it was set, instead of in the same town where they shot the X-Files for 5 years.

There were some strong moments in the film -- for example, half of the scene in which Pacino confronts Williams on the ferry, but all in all, the movie was (with rare exceptions) so conventional, I can't recommend it.

Amy and I saw it together, and maybe she will write more about it if she liked it more than I did.

posted by adm at 11:53 AM | #


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