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"INSOMNIA"
(2002) (Al Pacino, Robin Williams) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Mild Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: A cop suffering from insomnia is lured into a dangerous, psychological game of cat and mouse with a murder suspect.
PLOT:
Will Dormer (AL PACINO) and Hap Eckhart (MARTIN DONOVAN) are LAPD detectives who've been sent to the remote Alaskan town of Nightmute to investigate the murder of 17-year-old Kay Connell (CRYSTAL LOWE). One reason for that is due to Will being a legend in the field of homicide investigation, a point that draws young local cop Ellie Burr (HILARY SWANK) to him. The other, however, is that both cops are under investigation by their Internal Affairs department, and Will is none too happy that Hap is prepared to cooperate with them.

Nevertheless, the two set out to work with Chief Nyback (PAUL DOOLEY) and his team to figure out who killed the young woman. The obvious suspect is her abusive boyfriend, Randy Stetz (JONATHAN JACKSON), particularly since he's now seeing Kay's former best friend, Tanya Francke (KATHERINE ISABELLE).

Yet, Will senses that there's more to the case than that, and begins to believe that local novelist Walter Finch (ROBIN WILLIAMS) might somehow be involved. Things become more complicated, however, when Hap is shot and killed and Will suffers from a bout of insomnia in this summer land where the sun never sets. As he tries to deal with both of those issues, he's then lured into a dangerous psychological game of cat and mouse with Walter, all while trying to keep his sanity so that he can solve the case.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of anyone in the cast, director Christopher Nolan ("Memento"), or dramatic thrillers just might, but this one otherwise seems most attractive to older teens.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, some violence and brief nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • AL PACINO plays a veteran LAPD homicide detective who's not the clean-cut legend others might think. A target of an Internal Affairs investigation, he tries to solve a murder in a remote Alaskan town, all while covering up his own crime and dealing with his progressively debilitating insomnia. He also uses strong profanity.
  • ROBIN WILLIAMS plays the murder suspect, a novelist who lures Will into a psychological game of cat and mouse. He also uses strong profanity.
  • HILARY SWANK plays the young local cop who's assigned to work with Will and Hap but ends up watching her idol's image be tarnished as she investigates a shooting.
  • MARTIN DONOVAN plays Will's cop partner who's ready to cooperate with Internal Affairs and thus indict Will. He uses strong profanity.
  • JONATHAN JACKSON plays the dead girl's abusive boyfriend who uses strong profanity and has a defiant attitude toward the police.
  • KATHERINE ISABELLE plays a young woman who uses strong profanity and is seeing her best friend's boyfriend not long after that girl's death.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated dramatic thriller. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 39 "f" words, while various other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some sexually related dialogue is present (some of it being explicit), a young woman briefly comes on to a much older cop, and several nude but dead female bodies are seen (showing bare breasts and one showing some pubic hair).

    Violence consists of several people being shot to death, another murder taking place before the film starts (with brief flashback images to parts of it), a person being shot in the leg, non-lethal fighting and threatening (once with a gun to the head). Some of those scenes and others may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers, some have bloody results, and all involve characters with bad attitudes (including a killer and a corrupt cop).

    Several characters drink and/or smoke, while some imitative behavior is also present, as are some tense family scenes (regarding the above deaths). If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some people drink in a bar and Hap has a beer in front of him.
  • Walter calls Will on the phone and a suggestion is made that they get together for a few beers.
  • Walter states that Kay came over to his place and was a little drunk.
  • Various people in a bar drink, including Will.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a close-up of some blood dripping down and soaking into some sort of fabric and then a person's gloved finger spreading the blood into the fabric (we later see this again).
  • We see some black and white photos of murder victims (that aren't gory, but are dead) and then see another dead body that has some bruises on the face.
  • A man who's been shot has some blood on his face (from his mouth and nose).
  • We see a dead dog in an alley (we don't know how it died).
  • Will uses a gun to shoot an already dead dog. He then cuts into the dog's body and digs out the bullet (with bloody results on his gloved hands, but more of the goriness is heard rather than seen).
  • We see a brief, fragmented flashback of the above man being shot (with what looked like blood squirting out).
  • We see a flashback of a man cleaning a wound and we see some blood on the victim's lips.
  • Some men who've been shot have blood on their face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Randy has a defiant and disrespectful attitude toward Will when being questioned about his girlfriend's murder and we learn that he apparently beat her in the past (there's talk about old bruises on her body).
  • Will accidentally shoots and kills someone and then lies about, blaming the shooting on the murder suspect. He also fabricates and switches some evidence, and breaks into Walter's apartment without a warrant, and breaks into another person's place as well. He later admits to planting evidence in the past.
  • Walter admits to killing Kay.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • With their guns drawn, Will and others race after a suspect who heads into an old fishing shack. They go inside the dark building and slowly and cautiously look for him. Will then makes his way through a watery tunnel and out into a foggy environ where he can't see much. The suspect then shoots a nearby cop in the leg and Will continues his pursuit over large rocks. Will then spots a figure, shoots and we see a man fall to the ground.
  • Will uses a gun to shoot an already dead dog. He then cuts into the dog's body and digs out the bullet (with bloody results on his gloved hands, but more of the goriness is heard rather than seen).
  • Will chases after Walter through the town and then across a series of large logs floating close together down a river. Will eventually slips and falls beneath the logs that then close the gap above him. He tries to find his way to the surface, is nearly hit by a log that slams into another, and is underwater for a bit of time (holding his breath while frantically trying to get out).
  • Will breaks into a person's house to try and find a stashed gun before the local cops arrive with their search warrant (we see them on the way) and then must hide when they enter the house.
  • Will sees a truck approaching and swerves to miss it, but then realizes he imagined the whole thing (due to sleep deprivation).
  • Ellie goes to retrieve some items from Walter's cabin, but since we know he's the killer, we worry about her. Various violent confrontations (see "Violence") then ensue.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Shotgun: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cker," "What the f*ck /do you know/are you doing/is this?" "Gives a flying f*ck," "F*ck you," "F*ck you care," "F*ck it," "F*cked up," "What's the f*cking difference?" "Who gives a f*ck?" "You're f*cked," "(That's ) Bullsh*t," "Scared sh*tless," "Abusive little pr*ck," "Screwing around" (sexual), "Damn lucky," "Loser," "Balls" and "Nads" (testicles), "Bastard," "What the hell is wrong with you?" "You bet your ass," "Freak" and "Scumbags."
  • A cop gives Ellie "the finger."
  • Will purposefully drives down the wrong side of the road toward an oncoming truck to scare Tanya.
  • A cop makes a joke, "What has two thumbs and loves blow jobs?" He then answers it, "This guy," pointing to himself with his two thumbs.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Will starts to pull out in his car, when a person is suddenly in front of him.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 39 "f" words (2 used sexually, as is the term "screwing," and 1 used with "mother"), 13 "s" words, 3 slang terms using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 7 asses (3 used with "hole"), 4 S.O.B.s, 2 craps, 1 damn, 1 hell, 4 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see some black and white photos of murder victims and one shows female bare breasts.
  • We see a side shot of the young female murder victim's body lying on an examination table and see her bare breasts as well as some pubic hair.
  • During questioning, Randy defiantly tells Will and Hap that his girlfriend "wanted me every night." Will responds that she was probably just passing her time.
  • As Will drives Tanya and questions her about Kay's murder, the young woman purposefully shows a great deal of thigh to him (while also showing some cleavage). After Will scares her by nearly hitting a truck, he comments on her "f*cking your best friend's boyfriend."
  • After Will tells Walter about how many freaks he's caught like him with their pants down, Walter says he never touched her, but Will adds that he's sure Walter wanted to.
  • During interrogation, Will asks Walter if he was having sex with Kay. Walter replies that she was 17 and Will asks if she was attractive and Walter replies, "I suppose" and then says that he didn't have sex with her. Will then turns on the bad cop rage and accuses, "You just wanted to f*ck her, didn't you?"
  • A comment is made about Randy and Tanya "screwing around."
  • A cop makes a joke, "What has two thumbs and loves blow jobs?" He then answers it, "This guy," pointing to himself with his two thumbs.
  • SMOKING
  • Tanya smokes twice, Randy smokes once and few miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Although we never see the woman, Will calls a man's wife to inform her that her husband has been killed (we hear her reaction).
  • We see a brief funeral scene for the initial murder victim.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Having insomnia and what lack of sleep can do to one's judgment and mental functioning.
  • Internal Affairs departments in police departments.
  • Will's comment that the ends (his shady actions in the past) justify the means (putting criminals away).
  • Summer life in northern Alaskan cities and towns where the sun never sets.
  • VIOLENCE
  • From time to time, we see some very brief and obscure flashback images of the murder victim being attacked (but not enough to tell exactly what's happening).
  • A cop kicks in a door to gain entry to a building.
  • Walter shoots a cop in the leg (from a distance).
  • Will shoots a man, mortally wounding him.
  • Will knocks items from a table in anger.
  • Will uses a gun to shoot an already dead dog. He then cuts into the dog's body and digs out the bullet (with bloody results on his gloved hands, but more of the goriness is heard rather than seen).
  • We see a brief, fragmented flashback of the above man being shot (with what looked like blood squirting out).
  • We see some brief flashbacks of Walter suddenly hitting and then struggling with Kay.
  • Turing on the bad cop rage during an investigation, Will menacingly kicks Walter's chair.
  • Cops kick a door in.
  • Will pushes Walter back against a platform and then has him by his coat. He then pushes him back against the structure again and holds a gun to Walter's face.
  • Will kicks in Walter's door to gain entry to his place.
  • Walter punches Ellie in the face, knocking her out.
  • Walter hits and slices Will with something and the two then struggle and a gun goes off. Walter then repeatedly hits and kicks Will on the floor and kicks a gun from his hand.
  • Ellie fires a shot at Will.
  • Walter fires many shotgun blasts through a house at Will and Ellie. Will then has Ellie shoot a handgun at Walter so that he can approach his position. Gunfire then goes back and forth between the two.
  • Walter and Will struggle and fight, and we can't really tell what's happening, although we do see Walter hit Will on the head with a bottle and more punching and struggling then follows.
  • Two people shoot each other (with a handgun and shotgun), with one falling into and sinking below the surface of some water and the other presumably dying as well.



  • Reviewed May 8, 2002 / Posted May 24, 2002

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