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Summer is here and that means countless blockbusters, most of which promise more than they could ever give. What we have to look forward to is lack of characters, lack of plot, plenty of eye candy, and mostly PG-13 films because of the audience that will buy the most tickets at this time of the year. Which is why Insomnia is such a blessing to adults and movie fans alike.

Insomnia is a film about the moral decisions of a detective as he tries to solve a murder. This detective is Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and because the murder took place in Alaska during a time of the year that the sun never sets, Dormer has a bad case of Insomnia. Along with this we find that Dormer may be in trouble back at home with internal affairs. All of this builds up with great tension creating a great feeling before the killer even shows up on screen. But once he does the plot gets even more intricate and tense. All of this builds until the poetic and explosive conclusion.

Insomnia is director Christopher Nolan's first big studio film. He took a great deal of notice after last year's sleeper Memento. It seems he had no trouble adjusting to the more than moderate budget increase.

Although Insomnia is on a much grander scale than either of his previous films, Nolan's touch is still greatly apparent in this film. Nolan has a great ability to make films that are better viewed more than just once. A technique that is consistent in all of his films is showing the audience things early on in the film that they won't understand until the conclusion. Much like a jigsaw puzzle, you are given important pieces that don't fit until the rest of the puzzle is completed.

As well as fantastic directing, Insomnia owes much of it's success to a cast full of award winners. Al Pacino is still at the top of his game with his performance as Will Dormer. Pacino never comes off cheesy as he could have rather easily playing someone with insomnia. Instead much of his acting is kept subtle and entirely believable. It will pain anyone who has suffered insomnia to sit through this movie because of the realism in which it is portrayed.

Hilary Swank and Robin Williams are also fantastic in this film despite the fact that they seem to have less backstory to develop a character. Swank is a rookie cop that admires such a distinguished detective as Dormer. Robin Williams is the chilling killer. At times he is so convincing about his reasons for killing her that you start to believe him when he says he is sane.
Much of Insomnia focuses on the methods that Dormer takes to catch the killer rather than the murder itself. It is a character study and a thinking film but this does not mean it is without action. There is enough suspense in Insomnia to fill two average summer thrillers. Most importantly, Insomnia is an inteligent thriller, probably the best since Memento, using less gore to frighten us and more good old fashion suspense.

4.5 out of 5

Ryan Izay

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