October 27, 2016
        Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster        

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia”

Hollywoodnews.com: HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we review:

“Insomnia” (Blu-ray)
We’re days away from Christopher Nolan’s anticipated “Inception,” which is a dizzying mind-puzzle of a thriller that … well, I can’t get into it here for fear of shattering studio embargoes. Look for a full review this Friday.

In the meantime, Warner has placed a Blu-ray copy of Nolan’s “Insomnia,” which he filmed after the calculated murder-mystery “Memento,” into our hands for inspection. I haven’t watched “Insomnia” since its release in 2002. A remake of a 1997 Norwegian thriller, it casts a haggard Al Pacino as a celebrated L.A. detective tracking a killer (Robin Williams) through a daylight-drenched Alaskan community. (The fact that Internal Affairs is hounding him back in California does little to help his already fragile psyche.)

I remember “Insomnia” to be better than it actually is. While still a solid thriller, a second viewing shows plot holes and cut corners that Nolan employs to maintain mood. You can see his visual style starting to formulate, especially thanks to the contributions of cinematographer Wall Pfister. Shots of Alaska’s glacial terrain are breathtaking on Blu-ray, while a crucial foot chase through a foggy forest is suitably disorienting. And while Williams is note-perfect as a killer who believes he’s in the same boat as the detective hunting him, Pacino falls back on the clichéd “Pacino” performance that has been lampooned too often in recent years.

And yet, I thoroughly enjoyed the candid, one-on-one conversation Pacino has with Nolan for the “Insomnia” Blu-ray. Filmed a few months after the film was shot, it gives unprecedented insight into both Nolan’s creative mindset and Pacino’s process. I also had to chuckle when Pacino casually mentions a day when he shot a scene with “Francis,” knowing full well that a mention of “The Godfather” would send a film geek like Nolan to the heavens. Good stuff.

The Blu-ray also packs scene-specific commentary tracks from Nolan’s contributors, additional scenes, three “Making of” featurettes, a stills gallery and a trailer. It’s definitely worth adding to your collection, especially if you are a Nolan junkie. And check out “Inception” later this week.

The movie – *** out of 4
The Blu-ray – *** out of 4

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

Follow us

Breaking Hollywood News   


Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.