Sleepless with anticipation

Preview by Jack Foley

TUCKED away in any blockbuster season is the so-called sleeper hit; the intelligent movie which (for far less money) sneaks up on a couple of the bigger summer contenders and all but blows them away. The appropriately-named Insomnia is a movie which has the potential to do just that.

A re-make of the Swedish thriller of the same name, Insomnia sounds, on the surface, as nothing that special. Its plot, featuring a detective who loses his partner and then travels to a small town to investigate the disappearance of a young girl only to find himself involved in a psychological game of cat-and-mouse with the primary suspect, is hardly original.

And it is a remake (and how many of those can really be said to have been worth revisiting?).

Yet delve a little deeper and there is plenty to get excited about. The movie stars Al Pacino (as the detective), Robin Williams (as the primary suspect, finally throwing off the shackles of too many saccharine-coated roles), ER's Maura Tierney (who plays the lovely Abbey) and Oscar-winner Hilary Swank (of Boys Don't Cry fame).

It is directed by Christopher Nolan, whose previous film was the memorable Memento, while - and wait for it! - Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney serve as the movie's producers.

With so many mouth-watering components in place, have we any more reason to feel excited? The movie opened in the US in May to some terrific reviews (see below) and should arrive on our shores in September.


Entertainment Weekly, often described as one of the two US bibles of entertainment reporting, described the movie, simply, as 'superb' (awarding it an A-), while Rolling Stone said it is 'thoughtful, gripping and steeped in action that defines character'.

The New York Times praises it for being 'intensely sharp-witted', while People claimed it is 'alarmingly good'. LA Weekly praised Nolan for being a 'terrific director of actors', while The Hollywood Reporter referred to it as 'a smashing follow-up from director Christopher Nolan to his much-celebrated debut film, Memento'.

Film Threat said it is 'a good movie, atmospheric and sometimes creepy' (awarding it three and a half stars out of five), while The Chicago Tribune described it as 'smart and well-crafted', while the Boston Phoenix said it 'sheds enough light on what is hidden, and why, to trouble one's slumber'.

But perhaps the New York Post put it best, describing it as 'a four-course gourmet alternative to summer popcorn flicks'. The movie has, thankfully, already been embraced by US audiences.

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