Northern Plights

Compelling Alaskan chiller from Memento director deserves reappraisal

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Christopher Nolan was never going to find it easy to follow a film as wholly individual as Memento and Insomnia initially seemed a somewhat disappointing foray into the conventional mainstream, slick, professional, but rather empty?much like Panic Room, David Fincher’s follow-up to the blistering genius of Fight Club.

Watching it again, however, Insomnia is a quiet revelation, a compelling meditation on guilt and obsession, the price driven men pay for what passes as their souls when certain lines are crossed. Al Pacino is, no surprise, tremendous as the veteran cop investigating the murder of a teenage girl in nightless Alaska even as his own career as a legendary investigator is under critical review. Robin Williams, meanwhile, is creepily effective as one of the suspects in the killing and his scenes with Pacino are grippingly intense. Nolan probably concedes too much to the multiplex?the final showdown is a hollow sop to the box office?but at its lingering best, Insomnia is insidiously brilliant.

DVD EXTRAS: None.

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