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Insomnia (2002)



Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 198
Fresh: 182 | Rotten: 16

Driven by Pacino's performance, Insomnia is a smart and riveting psychological drama.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 47
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 3

Driven by Pacino's performance, Insomnia is a smart and riveting psychological drama.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 101,424

My Rating

Movie Info

A sleep-deprived detective is sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. Forced into a psychological game of cat-and-mouse by the primary suspect, events escalate and the detective finds his own stability dangerously threatened.


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Hillary Seitz

Oct 15, 2002


Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (198) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (182) | Rotten (16) | DVD (37)

Like Memento, it invites viewing over and over again.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Insomnia is not so much about the murder mystery as it is about Will's internal struggle with what's right and what's possibly okay.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the world of Christopher Nolan, memory is still as treacherous as nitroglycerin.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film represents a triumph of atmosphere over a none-too-mysterious mystery. Which is to say that Nolan makes you feel the end-of-the-earth bleakness of his setting, makes you feel the way it can discombobulate people once they internalize it.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With a run-of-the-mill bad-guy actor playing chief suspect Walter Finch, the movie might have tipped too far Pacino's way. But Robin Williams is a shockingly effective counterweight.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scene by scene, screenwriter Hillary Seitz follows director Erik Skjoldbjaerg's original closely, but this remake deepens and improves upon the Norwegian film by giving Dormer a more complex relationship with Eckhart.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Who allowed these performances, or maybe even encouraged them? Christopher Nolan, that's who. He was so intent on dolloping pizazz onto this story that he didn't notice the visual syrup was drowning a six-inch stack of toaster waffles.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Insomnia proves that Memento wasn't a fluke: Nolan is a major talent with many more good films ahead of him.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Florida Times-Union
Florida Times-Union

Nolan uses Pacino the icon as much as Pacino the actor, and the latter turns in one of his best performances, almost vanity free.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Toledo Blade
Toledo Blade

Christopher Nolan's Insomnia adds 11 minutes to the Norwegian movie of the same name and manages to make everything that was fleeting and tantalizing in the original weighty, literal and dull.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

A smart, intricately constructed thriller, the film has far more on its mind than just who done it.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Not as audacious as Memento, Christopher Nolan's first studio feature is nevertheless a confident and intelligent thriller that demonstrates a canny ability to fuse his own concerns with guilt, subjective experience and narrative to a mainstream package.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

Christopher Nolan's follow-up to Memento is just as taut and ambiguous as its predecessor and -- arguably -- features better performances from its leading me

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This skilfully directed psychodrama from Christopher Nolan proves that hit European movies can be remade successfully.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Christopher Nolan, the promising writer-director behind Following and Memento, makes an elegant and assured transfer to big-budget, star-driven film-making with Insomnia.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

Part mystery, part moral dilemma, but all seductively intriguing.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Audience Reviews for Insomnia

Good thriller that keeps you guessing from the start. I still can't get over Robin Williams as a bad guy; the fact that he took on a villainous role as opposed to a comedy role made the movie that much better.
June 13, 2013
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

Can't remember if I saw this in the movies when it first came out or if I watched it at home and forgot to write it up. But after watching a second time hard to imagine it was produced 10 years ago. Al Pacino plays awesome part as he always does as a cop. He's in Alaska working on a case when he kills his partner. The case is a teen age girl was murdered and Robin Williams is the killer he's tracking down as the movie mazes about, excellent twist here and there. Williams always seems to play a excellent Psycho. 4 stars for this one 2-27-13
February 28, 2013
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Insomnia, as previously mentioned, feels like a two-hour episode of a television crime show, the only changes being the haunting psychological character study that we rarely get a glimpse of on television, and the screenplay's relieving lack of forensic jargon in order to let us get on with and make sense of the story. For the majority of the film, we feel as if we are indeed watching a pilot episode for an upcoming crime series. I occasionally forgot I was watching a theatrically released motion picture, and wondered who would play the antagonist in the following episode. The narrative doesn't fully satisfy. On the other hand, it does echo the rest of Christopher Nolan's work, in a sense that the visuals are used very wisely. The perturbing opening titles, the occasional surreal closeups of murder and hemorrhage, the repeating jump cuts as Al Pacino's character grows more paranoid, the memorably ominous fog scene. The faint of heart may certainly find the title an apt description of the night on which they view this film.

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September 3, 2012

Super Reviewer

A mix of Silence of the Lambs and Memento, Insomnia is a bleak yet excellent thriller with great performances from Pacino and Williams. The formation and unraveling of the lies that Pacino's character crafts are fascinating to watch. Nolan once more shines as a director, and the cinematography and film editing are effective and top notch.
August 29, 2012
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

    1. Det. Will Dormer: I'm coasting on my laurels, thank you.
    – Submitted by Jesse K (17 months ago)
    1. Det. Will Dormer: Day after day you suck the marrow out of real cops when you never had the balls to become one yourself.
    – Submitted by Kia M (18 months ago)
    1. Randy Stetz: You're just a prick in a leather jacket. What the fuck do you know?
    – Submitted by Kia M (18 months ago)
    1. Det. Will Dormer: [phone rings] Dormer here hello.
    2. Walter Finch: Can't sleep will.
    – Submitted by joseph j (21 months ago)
    1. Det. Will Dormer: Just let me sleep.
    – Submitted by Prethivee N (3 years ago)
    1. Det. Will Dormer: Don't lose your way.
    – Submitted by Prethivee N (3 years ago)
View all quotes (12)

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