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 Post subject: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:50 am 
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Insomnia

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In this elegantly unsettling murder mystery, Stellan Skarsgård plays an engimatic Swedish detective with a checkered past who arrives in a small town in northern Norway to investigate the death of a teenage girl. As he digs deeper into the heinous killing, his own demons and the tyrannical midnight sun begin to take a toll. Erik Skjoldbjærg’s chilling procedural anticipated the international hunger for Scandinavian noirs and serial killer fictions, and features one of Skarsgård’s greatest performances.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

• New 4K digital restoration, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New conversation between director Erik Skjoldbjærg and actor Stellan Skarsgård
• Two short films by Skjoldbjærg: Near Winter (1993) and Close to Home (1994)
• Trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Jonathan Romney

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:24 am 
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colinr0380 wrote:
This was my post from the previous forum:

MAJOR SPOILERS

I was thinking that this has a problem that affects many of the remakes I've seen. I don't think that the remake of Insomnia was bad but it seemed to fall into the trap of needing to provide a concrete reason for the character to cover up his part in the shooting. My impression of watching the scene following the shooting in the original was that he is dazed by what he has done while the officer imposes his own view of events which he agrees with before he comes round to what he has gotten himself into. In the remake, the character seems more calculating in his covering up the shooting at this point as he seems fully aware of what he has done and indeed the remake includes scenes between Pacino and his partner early on that make us almost glad that the partner was shot (with his threats that he would expose Pacino's character), compared to the original characters at worst exasperation with his older partner.

The original details a man caught up in an accident and finding events snowballing around him. I would say that after the interrogation when he accepts what he has done and begins to manipulate evidence to support his case Skarsgaard's character becomes more calculating, but also more conflicted about what he is doing. While he manipulates the evidence, circumstance is also a major player in his eventual escape. Just as the shooting was an accident, so he could not have planned for the author drowning (though he takes advantage of it by watching him die, another example of his disconnectedness from events occuring as in the scene where he does not correct the officer from inferring that the shooting was done by the girl's murderer), or for the investigating officer to give him the incriminating bullet at the end. Indeed, he seems to be wanting the authorities to catch him through his dealings with the girl in the car and the hotel clerk. Perhaps he wants them to report what he has done to the police.

The problems I have with the remake is that a lot of the ambiguities of character are lost. Pacino's character does seem to have a motive to have shot his partner (an aspect that I thought was an interesting addition although a little heavy handed in the scenes between the two at the hotel) but after the shooting the character seems to change from someone who has taken on the task of manipulating evidence so he is not found out whatever the cost (as in the original, where it is conceivable that he would be prepared to kill to keep his secret), however conflicted he is, to a character in the remake who will manipulate evidence but never convinces that he has completely lost his morality. The best example of this is the dog, the turning point in the original is that he is prepared to kill the dog to fabricate his ballistic evidence, whereas in the remake a conveniently already dead dog is found for this purpose. The character (and I guess by extension the audience) then does not have to confront the moral question of the dog's death.

Also the remake unfortunately ruins the ending by giving the character redemption for his deeds by telling the investigating officer to go public with what he has done, whereas the achievement of the original is that he is allowed to go free with his crimes on his conscience, and the knowledge that he has brought the investigating officer into his deception.

These are just some general thoughts on why I like the original more than the remake, I hope that they are interesting but certainly not the only interpretation of this excellent film.

I can't remember my original post on the subject but basically it came down to the fact I liked both about the same, though maybe the remake a little more. Not quite sure. They both have their problems and both have their advantages. If you like the remake chances are good you'll like the original.

I definitely agree Colin about the ending of the remake, where Pacino's character is redeemed. They really should have had him get away with it and living with his mistakes. Hollywood has this thing against stuff like that, though. But I did like the fact the remake gave Pacino more of a reason to kill his partner, so he'd definitely have to hide the mistake or feel more inclined to do it. I never really felt the urgency in the original.

But I think I'll have to watch both again.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:27 am 
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Colin's mini-comparison is right on the money. I'd just go further and say that Pacino's histrionics are as tiresome in this as they are in just about anything else he does nowadays. The only saving grace in my book for Nolan's Insomnia is Nolan's direction and Robin Williams' performance. But head to head, no comparison, the Norwegian Insomnia is the much better version. Nolan's Insomnia just fails to capture the claustrophobia of the original.

Tribe


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:45 pm 
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cdnchris wrote:
I did like the fact the remake gave Pacino more of a reason to kill his partner, so he'd definitely have to hide the mistake or feel more inclined to do it. I never really felt the urgency in the original.

Yes, I think the motive for the character doing what he does is explicitly linked to the partner in the remake. But I prefer the original - you get the threat to his job in a subtler way when, while getting changed after viewing the girls body, the Skarsgaard character overhears one of the mortuary technicians telling the story of his disgrace when he was found in bed with a witness. So you get a general sense of a rumour about him, that may be true or not - it is never stated. Rumours also have a life of their own spreading as gossip - there is no one particularly responsible for starting it that the film points a finger at, so there is nobody for Skarsgaard's character to have a motive to silence, although it is just as much of a threat to his job if it is found credible by his bosses as the face-to-face accusation that happens in the remake. The powerlessness that this brings to the character feels like the starting point of his paranoia, insomnia and eventual accidental shooting of his partner. I do like the way the remake muddies the waters with 'was it an accident or was it pre-meditated?' questions, but I think making the threat tangible with a real human face damages the subtlelty of handling that can be found in the original.

In the original you get the sense that he has crossed the line before and it is weighing heavy on his conscience, whether due to the situation that the people in morgue are gossipping about or other matters. It is pointed towards as part of what causes his lack of sleep and his disorientation that contributes to the shooting, but it is never explicitly stated as the direct factor, whereas in the remake it seems that it is the partner who is directly responsible for threatening Pacino's job. Once he is eliminated it then becomes a matter of getting away with it.

I think Skarsgaard's character does not have to hide the truth about the shooting, as the real killer tells him at one point that if he'd confessed he would have been suspended and investigated, but is in deeper trouble now that he has tampered with evidence. It could be seen as an expression of the troubled mental state the character is in that he does not correct the officer when he draws the wrong conclusions from the shooting. There are small glimpses of his troubled mind before the shooting such as the scribbling out of the girls face in the photograph on the plane, or his running the red light on the way to the hotel which his partner catches him on (maybe even the caressing way the camera moves up the body of the girl in the mortuary - I've wondered whether it was meant to be a point of view shot, as it seems especially creepy to be viewing it in that way).


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:39 pm 

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colinr0380's assessment is right on. The haunting original Insomnia beats out the utterly forgettable remake by a Norwiegen mile. Nolan's "Hollywood" version erases every bit of ambiguity contained in the original. It would be like if someone remade the Third Man and allowed Harry Lime to confess himself to Holly and receive some sort of absolution before dying. Come to think of it, letting Pacino's character die at the end is a total cop out. The beauty of the original is that the character is condemned to live with what he's done. To let him die (and to die having confessed his sin) is pathetic. The remake is a total fraud and I wouldn't even recommend watching it once out of curiosity.


Last edited by BWilson on Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:10 am 
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colinr0380 wrote:
or his running the red light on the way to the hotel which his partner catches him on

I was thinking about this in reference to the ending, where the Skarsgaard character faces (the same?) red light that he ran at the beginning of the film. He stops at this one and the film ends with his eyes - this could represent his haunted conscience but it could maybe also suggest that now he has "gotten away with it" he has been shown that his lack of morality has had no bad repurcussions in terms of concrete punishment. Perhaps his stopping at the red light suggests that he is able again to deal with society's rules on the face of things, which he could not do at the beginning while he was on the brink of his crisis. Now he has gone beyond the pale and dispensed with his morality and feelings of guilt or shame for his actions (although they will still be there under the surface - I don't think the character will be getting over his insomnia any time soon!) he seems calmer (almost Patrick Bateman-ish?).

The final shot while he waits for the light to change also suggests that though he is leaving free from blame he will still be in a metaphorical tunnel - how will he live with the result of his actions?


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 6:07 am 
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The glowing eyes at the red light: I took this to mean that now he's reentering a society of law abiding citizens...but will henceforth view that society through the eyes of one who has experience the other side of morality. For us, the viewer, it is a sort of Mark of the Beast.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:36 pm 
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Wow, I didn't really expect this kind of response. Thanks, guys. =D>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:35 pm 
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I'm not sure if I should post this as it is just a silly linkage but I really like the way that you have the detective from the original acting with the killer from the remake in Good Will Hunting - and they play friends! It is the little connections like this that make me glad to be a film fan!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:22 pm 
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You're a nerd. :P :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 5:27 am 
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That's very true. Nerdy and proud! :) Although it could be said that there is too much time spent watching films and not enough social interaction on my part! Or too much time thinking about films to stop myself from actually doing any work!


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:44 am 
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Finally saw this, and I have to say out of all of the serial killer wodunits of the 90s this is easily the best. It's one of the more interesting and effective toying with the sympathetic POV I've seen. Like if Dead Zone (book) had actually worked. I'm still working out if even the character believed the ends justified the means.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
It's especially interesting that the character didn't try to rescue the now paralyzed murderer, even though he seemed to have been mute. The two things I found the most interesting though was that the detective actually tried to stop Holt from going there before allowing him to drown and the female detective letting him go. That last part is especially curious, and if any one has theories please share, since she seemed to really want to reveal the truth and be real justice. Maybe she felt it was a worse punishment to be free?
Finally thank heavens on quick pacing, this felt no longer then thirty minutes.


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 10:07 pm 
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This was one of the first CC DVDs I ever got. I did an interview with the execs of Home Vision and they gave me several freebies, this being one of them. Something I'd never have picked up at age 20 on my own but I did like it then (as now).

One thing I always wondered was that the images here and elsewhere show the title released in the original CC DVD design scheme, but my copy was in the second scheme, as was every copy I ever saw for 12 years until today, when I came upon a used copy of what is pictured in the first post. Both discs and booklets are identical, but I wondered if anyone else had this version of it (both say "first printing" so no help there) and if it's rare and if so, how rare?


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 10:27 pm 
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Moe Dickstein wrote:
This was one of the first CC DVDs I ever got. I did an interview with the execs of Home Vision and they gave me several freebies, this being one of them. Something I'd never have picked up at age 20 on my own but I did like it then (as now).

One thing I always wondered was that the images here and elsewhere show the title released in the original CC DVD design scheme, but my copy was in the second scheme, as was every copy I ever saw for 12 years until today, when I came upon a used copy of what is pictured in the first post. Both discs and booklets are identical, but I wondered if anyone else had this version of it (both say "first printing" so no help there) and if it's rare and if so, how rare?

Before my house fire, I had the same version as you have. I hope it's not incredibly rare ... that would be depressing.


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 10:40 pm 
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I bought the disc when it first came out and my version is with the old design scheme as shown at the beginning of this thread. I was never aware that there were 2 versions of a first printing and the CC website now shows it with the newer design, but I thought that was due to a second printing, but frankly never looked into it. I remember the design changed shortly thereafter, but I don't remember when exactly and I don't know how rare this first design scheme is.


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 10:43 pm 
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What do you mean "second scheme"? Are you referring to the change in style that took place ~Eric Rohmer box set, with the wacky C? Or are you talking about how around Unbearable Lightness of Being/Peeping Tom/Night Porter they shifted the "Criterion Collection" at the top of the front cover off to the right and started to allow color on the spine


For what its worth, my cover looks like the one displayed here. Can you post a picture of the alternate cover?

EDIT: Nevermind, I see it on the Criterion website now. Not sure if either is worth more, but I got mine pretty cheap (I want to say ~$5) used on Amazon.


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 10:46 pm 
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jindianajonz wrote:
What do you mean "second scheme"? Are you referring to the change in style that took place ~Eric Rohmer box set, with the wacky C? Or are you talking about how around Unbearable Lightness of Being/Peeping Tom/Night Porter they shifted the "Criterion Collection" at the top of the front cover off to the right and started to allow color on the spine


For what its worth, my cover looks like the one displayed here. Can you post a picture of the alternate cover?


Your version looks exactly like mine. I think what Moe is referring to is the shift to the right - which is how the disc cover is now shown on the CC website, this was before the wacky C change.


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 11:00 pm 
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So those of you that have the original design version, you all got it right at the time of release? It's odd that this is perhaps the only title from that era that they switched the design on without otherwise changing the contents in any way.

yes Jin, second scheme is the "Criterion Spine Line" as seen on Grand Illusion, and starting with spine 52 in general. "Wacky C" is the third scheme, introduced as you said with the Rohmer box. The first scheme which ran from Seven Samurai through Brazil was a carryover of the third Laserdisc design format.

And for what it's worth this was one of two of the first scheme that had an altered banner - this one has the faded bottom to fit in with the overall design, and Night To Remember had a plum colored banner since most of the cover was already black.


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 2:22 pm 
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Moe Dickstein wrote:
this was one of two of the first scheme that had an altered banner - this one has the faded bottom to fit in with the overall design, and Night To Remember had a plum colored banner since most of the cover was already black.

Robocop, too!


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 10:03 pm 
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Oy yes, of course!


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:18 pm 
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Blu-ray rerelease in July


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:05 pm 
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Interestingly Skjoldbjærg's latest film Pioneer has just been released in UK cinemas.

I'm a very big fan of the original Insomnia and looking forward to getting this reissue. I do hope though that they've kept the wonderful, albeit spoliery, 'music video' main menu screen from the original release and just ported it over with the new logo on top!


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 11:58 am 
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New extra announced:

Quote:
•Two short films by Skjoldbjærg: Near Winter (1993) and Close to Home (1994)


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:32 am 
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Beaver


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 Post subject: Re: 47 Insomnia
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:00 am 
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blu-ray.com, which mistakenly says it's a Swedish audio track. (Should be Norwegian, with portions in Swedish)


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