100 movies: Insomnia

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100 movies of 2012
Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

InsomniaInsomnia (16/06/12)

Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

There was a strong sense of familiarity while watching this film. Not the plotting so much but just the way it looked. Certain scenes. Use of score. In my head I could place scenes from everything from The Prestige to Batman Begins, Dark Knight and even Inception. I love it when you can see familiarity in a director’s work from his earlier films. The only difference I could call between this earlier film of his is that it’s a fairly normal and linear in the way the story is told. It is a detective story. A well told detective story.

The story itself was simple. Find the killer. Made more interesting by Pacino’s insomnia-ridden detective struggling with dealing with what he’s done. Whether he meant to do what he did or whether it was all just an accident. He was doubting himself. Which made me as the audience member, doubt him and what he himself was seeing.

I think the only weak point, which I couldn’t ignore in this film, was Al Pacino. I think he did a brilliant job and I’m not knocking his performance. It’s probably his last good film in recent years. But I couldn’t help but thinking the character called for someone a bit younger. Especially in the scenes where he needed to be a bit more, spritely. It just looked like he was struggling! Maybe that was the point. What with the whole insomnia thing.

Robin Williams was excellent as the creepy killer. He wasn’t overly creepy. Just weird enough. A muted performance. Him and Pacino worked very well together. Both the characters and the actors. Never thought I’d see Robin Williams and Al Pacino in the same film together!

Overall, a very good film. The ending didn’t really satisfy me. It felt too clean. Maybe I was wanting too much. But other than that, a good crime thriller with Nolan’s fingerprints all over it.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

48 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
  30. The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
  31. Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
  32. 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
  33. Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
  34. Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
  35. A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
  36. Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
  37. Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
  38. Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
  39. New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
  40. Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
  41. Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
  42. The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
  43. The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
  44. Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
  45. The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
  46. Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
  47. The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
  48. Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)


  1. Insomnia has always been on my “to watch” list. I don’t know why, but I just never got around to it. Maybe I should do this 100 movie challenge. It sounds like fun and I wonder if I can actually do it. I have movie ADD, as I like to call it. LOL I will watch, like, the first 20 minutes, then change the movie.

    • It’s not bad. Not the best film from Nolan, but it’s really interesting to see how he’s grown as a director.

      100 movies challenge is a lot of fun, but can get stressful when you’re in November and you’re no where near your target! But having a goal is useful!

  2. It’s amazing that one of the less good films in Nolan’s filmography is still this freaking good! Need to re-watch this one day!

    • Yep, the filmography gave this film an extra star in my book. It looked beautiful. Really made the most of the setting.

  3. I really like this movie, I think Pacino gives one of his best performances here. The thing I adored the most was how well the insomnia was portrayed – in all of those shots showing little details around Pacino, really showed the way the mind focuses on weird elements when it is tired.

    • Completely agree. You could feel his pain as well, because these little elements were done so well. Really sympathised with his inability to sleep with the glaring light through his curtains. Desperation really set in.

  4. I’m with Jen in that this one has been in my Instant Queue with netflix for months! I’ve been meaning to watch it. Thanks for the review. I am curious to see it and now will HAVE to finish the movie.

  5. I saw this one years ago and thought it was good, not great. It sounds like we had similar thoughts on it. It’s great that Nolan went on to bigger and better things after this.

    • Very glad Nolan did too. Not one of the best thrillers I’ve seen. Not by a long way, but it kept me engaged.

  6. It’s a good flick but compared to all of Nolan’s others, it definitely isn’t his best. In fact, this film only is most noteworthy for an insane performance from Robin Williams that feels like it’s more human than his one in One Hour Photo, but even he gets the short end of the stick by the film’s climax. Good review Jaina.

    • Robin Williams is great here. Very creepy, but almost in that normal sort of way. Such a calculating character though. Found him a whole lot more interesting than Pacino.

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