Insomnia (2002)

I have suffered from insomnia all of my life.  Until a couple of years ago, I just classed it as insomnia, but then I Wiki’d it and I self-diagnosed myself as having something called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.  Basically, if it’s before midnight when I try to go to sleep, I’m going to toss and turn until then anyways, so I tend to keep late hours.  Unless I’m drop dead exhausted, I can’t fall asleep before then, so I don’t even bother trying.  Then there are the nights where I just can’t fall asleep, and those nights are the worst.  I know I have to get up at an early hour for work, but my brain will not go into that sleep cycle.  This is especially worse on nights when I haven’t had any alcohol.  I’m trying to find a way to segue from my own insomnia to talking about the film Insomnia but I’m just not getting there, it’s just a journal entry on my own misery, the bleakness that I feel when I can’t just go the fuck to sleep.  THERE, I found the segue way!

The film Insomnia takes place in a place called Nightmute, Alaska which goes through months-long periods of daylight or darkness, depending on the time of year.  Now sleeping at night is mostly a psychological thing, since we’ve been trained all our life to sleep when it gets dark out, that is when we sleep.  It’s not a required sleeping time period or anything, it’s just how we all function for the most part.  Sure, there are people out there that are on graveyard shifts that have to function oppositely, but there’s a bit of an acclimation period for that.  We humans can adapt to pretty much anything.  It’s an important plot detail, as Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is an LA detective brought up to Nightmute to help solve a recent murder, and he never gets a wink of sleep in the week long period of the movie.

Sleep deprivation is extremely damaging, as our brains need time to rest and decompress, which is why if you stay awake long enough, your dreams will start to invade your waking moments.  Or hallucinations, whatever you want to call them.  Holy shit, let me talk about the movie here.  It’s another masterful Christopher Nolan-directed film, and it expertly builds tension through Dormer’s desperation for solving the murder and to just get some shut eye.  There are other external forces at work, but you should really watch the film and discover them for yourselves.  I’m of the contention that Nolan is the greatest living director right now, and he’s one of the few that I will happily plunk down money for.

This movie might move a bit too slow for some audiences, but it’s an effective tool in building the tension and it’s an excellent movie all around.  Gorgeous cinematography, and I’m definitely going to have to pick it up on Blu-Ray someday.

4.5 / 5

About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

2 Responses to Insomnia (2002)

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Definitely not Nolan’s best flick, but it still has some pretty good performances from the cast and kept me involved till the end. It was just really slow though and didn’t do much when it came to offering me anything new. Still, good review.

    • SkoochXC says:

      The thing about the slowness is that the movie is all about the pacing. It’s all building that tension and that general unease and easy confusion that comes with losing sleep. I appreciate your comment, sir. Random comments make me actually want to keep doing this.

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