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7.1
/10
1,029 Ratings

Insomnia

Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg
Norway, 1997
Crime, Thriller

Synopsis

Disgraced Swedish detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) travels to northern Norway to solve a brutal murder.

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Insomnia Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg
Insomnia is a complex drama, yet executed with great stylistic economy and simplicity, through which Skjoldbjærg and his collaborators—including cowriter Nikolaj Frobenius—develop a profound sense of enigma. The visual style, notably the use of whiteness, constantly evokes the unreadability of Engström’s psyche, reversing the convention of identifying the unconscious with darkness.
July 25, 2014
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Insomnia is so humorless (okay, the kittens line isn’t half bad), that its significance beyond a stylistic calling card becomes an illumination the film ironically cannot disguise. Nevertheless, Skjoldbjærg’s eye for composition and remarkable play with a muted, mostly gray-scale color scheme complement Engström’s insanity nicely, though this remains a film more notable for its unique setting and bizarro scenario than an accomplished genre work of deeper, underlying convictions.
July 21, 2014
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Vastly superior to Christopher Nolan’s implausible, cutty remake, Erik Skjoldbjærg’s bleak, black thriller, set in the whiteness of the far north, charts the moral disintegration of a detective tracking a murderer and excavating the moral vacuum in his own heart. Crisp procedural storytelling with a gnawing decay underneath.
January 10, 2011
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