Insomnia Reviews

Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 25, 2014
Like Memento, it invites viewing over and over again.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
August 25, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
John Powers
L.A. Weekly
August 25, 2014
In the world of Christopher Nolan, memory is still as treacherous as nitroglycerin.
Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
August 5, 2013
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.
Top Critic
August 5, 2013
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.
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
August 5, 2013
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.
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Ted Shen
Chicago Reader
August 5, 2013
Nolan uses visual pyrotechnics to pump up the tension and add to Pacino's sense of disorientation, but the feeling he evokes isn't as forlorn, creepy, or ambiguous as in the original (though the mountain wilderness is just as forbidding).
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
August 5, 2013
This one is nowhere near as original -- it's a flawed remake of a fine first feature from Norway -- but Insomnia still stands on its own as a thriller with brains and scenic beauty.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
August 5, 2013
A dark and fidgety picture from Christopher Nolan, who made such a splash with Memento.
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
August 5, 2013
As Pacino endures day after day without a wink of sleep, Insomnia skillfully turns the screws, delving further into his troubled mind as it's haunted by past and present sins, as well as deceptive visions that seem to bleed out of his conscience.
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
August 5, 2013
The highlight is Pacino, who gives his best performance in years.
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
April 5, 2012
Despite its linear storyline, the film is very recognisably the work of the sharp, probing intelligence that gave us Following and Memento.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
April 5, 2012
While it may not be as stylistically idiosyncratic as Memento Insomnia is a gripping, highly dramatic thriller that more than confirms the distinctive talent of young Brit helmer Christopher Nolan.
Top Critic
Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
July 20, 2002
It's a crafty story told with more style and gray areas than your average thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
May 30, 2002
Insomnia is not my kind of arsenic, but it's so well-made and enigmatic I liked it anyway.
Top Critic
Dennis Lim
Village Voice
May 28, 2002
The Hollywood version (which is half an hour longer) transports the action to Alaska, and works up a respectable level of bleary-eyed paranoia.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
May 26, 2002
The best thing about Insomnia is that despite director Christopher Nolan's soft spot for moody-blues obfuscation, he has the good sense to keep his star in practically every shot.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
May 24, 2002
A thriller whose style, structure and rhythms are so integrated with the story, you cannot separate them.
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
May 24, 2002
You see Robin Williams and psycho killer, and you think, hmmmmm. You see the movie and you think, zzzzzzzzz.
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
May 24, 2002
This remake gets all there is to get out of a peculiar premise with promise: Al Pacino loathing Robin Williams.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
May 24, 2002
Continually challenges perceptions of guilt and innocence, of good guys and bad, and asks us whether a noble end can justify evil means.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
May 24, 2002
Pacino, his creased face looking like it's been aged in a smokehouse, is wonderfully bleary as the increasingly confused Dormer.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
May 24, 2002
A haunting psychological drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
May 24, 2002
Here's proof that it's still possible to make pop-oriented yet personal movies with an A-list cast and a zillion bucks.
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 24, 2002
With Insomnia, his third feature, Nolan, 32, has proven himself a precocious master of the thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
May 24, 2002
That rare instance where Hollywood improves upon a movie from foreign soil.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
May 24, 2002
A four-course gourmet alternative to summer popcorn flicks, serving up the meatiest performances Al Pacino and Robin Williams have given in many years.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
May 24, 2002
Proves the 32-year-old Nolan is the real deal, a gifted storyteller who knows how to use style, mood and composition to illustrate his characters' inner lives along with their actions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
May 24, 2002
Seitz's script sticks closely to the original, but Nolan has had no trouble using a variety of skills to make the material his own.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
May 24, 2002
Insomnia does not become one of those rare remakes to eclipse the original, but it doesn't disgrace it, either.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
May 24, 2002
It's gripping entertainment in a popular vein -- the police procedural -- that nevertheless follows no preconceived formulas.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
May 24, 2002
When all else is said and done, Insomnia runs on the pure adrenalin of Pacino's performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
May 24, 2002
[Nolan] is a filmmaker in full control of mood, tone, and pacing, to whom actors as wildly different as Pacino and Williams can entrust their best instincts, rather than their showiest.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Susan Stark
Detroit News
May 24, 2002
Atmospheric and deeply attuned to nuance, Insomnia is a thinking ticket buyer's murder mystery.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
May 24, 2002
Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister know how to mix riveting action with psychological drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Paul Tatara
CNN.com
May 24, 2002
Nolan is a craftsman who joins the ranks of Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell, Curtis Hanson, and M. Night Shyamalan as an individual voice working within the Hollywood system.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
May 24, 2002
Unlike most remakes, the Nolan Insomnia is not a pale retread, but a re-examination of the material, like a new production of a good play.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
May 24, 2002
It's a psychological thriller with actual thrills and actual psychology.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
May 23, 2002
Intensely sharp-witted remake of the noir thriller Insomnia.
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
May 23, 2002
It proves that both Al Pacino and Robin Williams really can act without overacting. It also shows that director Christopher Nolan has a life after Memento.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
May 23, 2002
Nolan has proved that he's as adept with a straightforward and well-plotted thriller as he is with a idiosyncratic, ingenious one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
May 23, 2002
The acting alone is worth the price of admission.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
May 23, 2002
Proves the best (read: most unsettling) of its type since The Pledge.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 23, 2002
A deftly entertaining film, smartly played and smartly directed.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
May 22, 2002
Insomnia is based on a 1997 Norwegian film, and though there are some key plot differences, the elements that made the original so memorable remain.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
May 13, 2002
Allows us to hope that Nolan is poised to embark a major career as a commercial yet inventive filmmaker.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 8, 2002
Thoughtful, gripping and steeped in action that defines character.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4