A good cop can't sleep because he's missing a piece of the puzzle. And a bad cop can't sleep because his conscience won't let him.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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I wasn't born the movie snob you see before you today. I had to work hard at it. It took me many viewings to truly recognize how bad Stellan Skarsgård. It was a thought provoking movie that was better the more you thought about it. Now we get an idea for what exactly Hollywood does to "improve" such movies. Add in 50 million in star power, put a 20 year old girl with a tight shirt in, and throw an action scene at the end whether it needs it or not and you have the "Hollywood" version. Insomnia is a good movie. It is worth seeing. Hollywood screwed it up more than it helped.

The story for Insomnia is one not often seen in a movie. Insomnia is a movie about a lie and how covering it up is often worse than the lie itself. It is a movie about guilt. It is a movie about character flaw, dishonesty, violence, and the sacrifice not of life or reputation but of one's peace of mind. The contrast of the story and the environment around it is wonderful. Every time our hero tries to bend, twist, and bury the truth, the sunlight of a four month day glares in at him. There is no darkness, no shadow, no place to hide in mind or in body. The story itself is probably the best thing going for this movie.

Patch Adams that both had this dangerously serious undertone that no one put him into a really serious role until Good Will Hunting came out. Insomnia is the first movie I have seen him in where he doesn't crack one funny line. He is dangerously calm the entire movie, a far change for him, and one he fits into perfectly.

There are two serious flaws with Insomnia. One is the miscast of the hot young Wild Bunch.

The DVD of Insomnia is a good cut. It has a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The soundtrack helps fill out some of the stranger abstract scenes of Pacino's sleep-depraved visions, but for the most part it stays comfortably transparent. There is a directors commentary on the DVD as well as your typical DVD filler. It is a decent cut but the film really warrants nothing more than a rental.

Insomnia is a movie that shows how much Hollywood ends up dorking things up more than making it better. 90% of this movie is very well done, with good acting and a great story. The other 10% can probably be easily ignored and the mainstream viewer will have a fine time. I am not unhappy that I watched this movie, although I don't think I needed to buy it. It is probably worth seeing for Robin William's role alone. Still, had they dumped the broad for someone a little more "Golden Girls" quality and dumped the Die Hard scene at the end, it would have been far better.