Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

INSOMNIA (1997/Norwegian)

Stellan Skarsgard
INSOMNIA (1997). Director: Erik Skjoldbjaerg.

"I have to acknowledge you really lived up to your reputation."

Two Swedish detectives are sent to a Norwegian city where the sun never sets to investigate the murder of a young woman, Tanja (Maria Mathiesen). Sleep-deprived and disoriented, Detective Engstrom (Stellan Skarsgaard) accidentally shoots his own partner, Erik (Sverre Anker Ousdal) during a chase, then covers it up; later he even plants evidence to try and frame the dead woman's boyfriend for her murder. Will the real killer take advantage of Engstrom's actions? Insomnia holds the attention and has its ironic moments, but it never quite grips the way it should -- the American version of the same name with Al Pacino in the lead is more effective. Enigmatic Skarsgard is strangely compelling in the lead. At least he's a lot better in this than he is in Thor: The Dark World.

Verdict: You may not sleep through it. **1/2.

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