American remake of a 1997 Norwegian films finds veteran police detective Will Dormer (Pacino), under Internal Affairs investigation back home, sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a 17-year-old girl. Primary suspect Walter Finch (Williams) plays a game of psychological chicken after witnessing a moment of Dormer's increasing weakness. Pacino, in service to an excellent script, gives an outstanding performance as the guilt-ridden, exhausted supercop, and Swank impresses (again) as the idol-worshipping but self-assured local deputy. "Memento" helmer Nolan proves there doesn't have to be a letdown after a breakout, groundbreaking hit.
'Insomnia' may be the least impressive of director Christopher Nolan's films (admittedly, I haven't seen his debut film, 'Following'), but the fact that it is directed by Nolan means that it is still a minor masterpiece. With the exception of 'The Dark Knight', it is the most straightforward Nolan film, with the most linear storytelling. It's a much more standard thriller than 'Memento', but it is beautifully shot and tautly told by Nolan. To date, this may be the last truly great performance that Al Pacino has given. And Robin Williams is also almost unexpectedly excellent; with the one-two punch of 'Insomnia' and 'One Hour Photo', he certainly cornered the market on "creepy". I can't wait to see Williams walk on the dark side again.