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Insomnia1997

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  • 3.9
Swedish homicide detective Jonas Engström and his partner, Erik, arrive in a small Northern Norwegian town to help local police investigate the murder of a teenage girl. When Jonas finds the girl's backpack, he sets a trap for the killer near a remote shed. While waiting to make an ambush in the morning fog, Jonas accidentally shoots Erik. He knows it was only an accident, but he decides to keep it a secret because he could lose his job. Jonas chooses to carry on with his investigation while trying to cover up the evidence of Erik's death. Meanwhile, he's unable to get any sleep due to the constant sunlight of the Norwegian summer and his increasingly guilty conscience. His only help comes from highly intuitive local police officer Hilda, who begins to form her own doubts about Jonas. As he continues to lose his grip on the case at hand, he becomes dangerously close to the suspects.

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3 members like this review

Another of the super-good Norwegian/Swedish detective thrillers but the opening scene is rather disturbing because of what the killer does with the young female victim. I was riveted until toward the end when I uttered one "oh, PLEASE!" and then went back into "suspend my disbelief" mode. The final frame over which the credits roll was a bit much and so were the dissolves to white. By mid-way through, one starts to wonder who was more fucked up, the killer or the cop? I would watch it again. Was the basis for the Alaska version of 2002 with an unusual and really creepy Robin Williams and Al Pacino.

170548.small
top reviewer

Member Reviews (15)

170548.small
top reviewer

Another of the super-good Norwegian/Swedish detective thrillers but the opening scene is rather disturbing because of what the killer does with the young female victim. I was riveted until toward the end when I uttered one "oh, PLEASE!" and then went back into "suspend my disbelief" mode. The final frame over which the credits roll was a bit much and so were the dissolves to white. By mid-way through, one starts to wonder who was more fucked up, the killer or the cop? I would watch it again. Was the basis for the Alaska version of 2002 with an unusual and really creepy Robin Williams and Al Pacino.

3 members like this review
207848.small
top reviewer

Insomina is a wonderful, first rate thriller, it's rare that one of such high caliber touches me in such a way. I had seen the American version of this with Al Pacino in the lead role, however, this version is far superior. I believe the reason for this is, the very subject matter itself. The screenplay, weaves the midnight sun of Norway into the plot, one which is familiar to Norwegians, offering a mind bending web of tricks on the story's lead character, who begins the question himself, and all else from lack of sleep. A detective is trying to solve a murder case, and begins to lose it from insomnia.

beautifully directed, and a strong ensemble cast make this a thriller with a twist, don't miss it.

2 members like this review

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190680.small
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Surprised to have recognized the story line from the American movie with Al Pacino and Robin Williams. I think this original version is superior; it is genuinely dark, as it captures the insomniac effects of the Scandinavian climate and human sensibilities on its inhabitants, Norwegians and Swedes alike. The American remake is plainly creepy, and both Pacino and Williams are inexplicably and forcibly weird. Now I realize why. Some remakes that change cultural context may be successful, such as The Grudge, others not, such as Girl, Interrupted - and Insomnia. The shots and cinematography bear the taste mark of the European filmmaker; they are not plain, like a documentary, which is how the 2002 remake is shot. I agree that the entrance scene is disturbing, but is also edited in an artsy, shattering way. Stellan Skarsgard's eyes are haunting. Great, scary movie, bordering depression and the neurotic, which is how, as Europeans, we seem to like it...

1 member likes this review

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191242.small
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Erik Skjoldbjearg's Insomnia (1997) is a very innovative and compelling film in the Crime Narrative genre.

It is certainly a very suspenseful crime narrative with a unique storyline that is somewhat convoluted, but made quite believable through a well conceived, and well thought out screenplay, very good performances by the whole cast, especially by Stellan Skarsgard in the lead role, and excellent direction.

The technical side of the film, the cinematography, the editing, and the lighting is superb, not only making this film visually beautiful, but it is seamlessly interfaced with the storyline to make the whole dramatic impact of the film much more effective, and is very integral with the suspenseful, and even psychological aspect of this crime narrative.

Overall, Insomnia (1997) is a film with high entertainment value, but also with a fair amount of artistic merit that makes certain aspects of the film quite thought provoking as well, at least in my opinion.

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Fantastic. American version doesn't hold a candle to this.

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187987.small
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Like many I saw the remake with Williams first. It's great that Fandor has the original. Both films are great, and worth watching. As other reviewers have said this is a great suspense/thriller who dun nit detective film.

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111509.small
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Very intriguing suspenseful film. The acting is superb all around which makes it all the more compelling.

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117475.small
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totally intense_Stellan Skarsgård is so intense the whole film_the girl Stellan Skarsgård is totally beautiful so is the hotel girl_i was worried about her_everything is so tight & well done - it just gets tighter_can't figure out why the cop does what he does _i know that sleep had nothing to do with it_so it's great & i really like the opening i know & i don't

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Absolutely terrific: ending is ambiguous. Was that an expended shell casing she put on the table? Or a recovered bullet? Answer would make a huge difference.

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The narrative is disjointed as if it is suffering from the title. I recall the US version with Pacino which was not much better except for Hilary Swank

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A crime thriller and psychological drama ,but more of the latter. It was a good idea for the director to not give us too much of the beautiful scenery. Excellent understated performances.

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Entertaining!

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Very complex and full of surprises. Gave a real flavor to the characters. Liked the portrayal of the disdain shown to the Swedes by the Norwegians and vise versa.

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Nordic bleakness at its best, despite all the sunshine.

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Overall good mystery, similar to american version, You don't find out who did it til nearly the end.

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