Insomnia could be considered the forgotten Christopher Nolan movie. Not that it wasn’t financially or critically successful – it grossed a healthy $113 million against a $43 million budget, and sits at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. But as the only movie the director had no hand in writing, it seldom merits more than a passing mention in terms of his wider filmography.
In many ways, the film is an outlier. After the cult success of Memento, Nolan had critical buzz, but he hadn’t yet proved he could handle the mega-budget projects he would later become known for. By taking on a studio film like Insomnia, and delivering a solid success with it, he was able to open the door for being handed the Batman franchise, which in turn enabled him to make the mind-bending blockbusters he’s best known for today.
Insomnia may not be classic Nolan, but it definitely contains elements that suggest why he might have been drawn to it. The film stars Al Pacino as an L.A. cop transplanted to a remote Alaskan town where the sun never sets. The weird sense of timelessness is classic Nolan, and he manages to craft some visually inventive action sequences from the town’s rustic surroundings – including what may be the first ever example of log driving parkour on the big screen.
In this week’s podcast, we’re joined by long-time friend of the show Ross Burton to break it all down. Discussion points include an unusually restrained Pacino performance, Robin Williams in a rare villainous role, a murder that nobody really seems to care about and much more, plus our regular segments on sequels, drinking games and listener reactions.
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Next week, we’ll be sticking with the 24-hour sunlight theme for a twisted modern horror movie that depicts the worst breakup in cinema history. Until then, happy listening and remember – there’s no rest for the wicked…