Insomnia (2002) review

A film about 2 L. A. detectives that are sent to the small fishing town of Nightmute, Alaska, where the sun doesn’t set for months, to investigate the murder of a local teen.

Insomnia can do funny things to you, I can speak from experience, being an insomniac myself. How many times have I stayed up for 6 or 7 days in a row? Finding myself seeing flickers and movements, hearing a ring in my ear, unable to focus as you feel your mind coming slow and falling apart. Will Dormer finds himself unable to sleep in this town, maybe it’s because of the sun, or maybe it’s because of what he said, “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.” Is Dormer unable to sleep because he’s missing a piece of the puzzle, or is his conscience getting to him?

Dormer is under investigation for a past case, and his partner was going to testify against him, in order to gain immunity, but Dormer accidentally shoots his partner through the thick fog of a suspect chase. Did Dormer mean to shoot him, or was it an accident? It looks like an accident. Dormer lies however because it would look like Dormer murdered his partner in order to keep him quiet. Is this what is keeping Dormer up? Or maybe it is the fact that the murderer saw Dormer shoot his partner. Dormer is under a large amount of stress, as now he is not only trying to solve the case of the murdered teen without exposing the real killer, less he reveal that Dormer shot his partner, while trying to cover his own tracks to make himself appear innocent. It all starts to build up, and we’re not sure if, or a better question, when, he’s going to snap.

The guilt starts to pile on Dormer slowly as we see him stay up night after night, working on who murdered the teen. However, he has to stay on top of covering his own tracks, trying to appear innocent, as he works out who killed the young girl. When you need to replace evidence, who better to do it than a cop? He sets everything up to make himself look innocent, but maybe it’s his state of mind that causes all that he does to slowly start to spiral out of control. The murderer of the teen contacts Dormer, saying they are in the same situation. None of them meant to kill anyone. The relationship between Dormer and the murderer is the most interesting thing about the film. They meet as they try to come up with a way to seem innocent. Seeing the same person in each other is what brings these 2 together, a person who did not mean to murder someone. Yet these 2 want to be cleared of all suspicion and crime, however, the murderer of the teen doesn’t seem nearly as guilt-ridden as Dormer. Both want to be clear of their crime, but we feel that Dormer’s conscience won’t let him be clean.

Dormer seems like a good cop, and in a way, still is. He does what it takes to put criminals behind bars. Maybe a way that goes behind the law, but he believes that it is right. He fights between what he thinks is right, and what’s best for him. In his unravelling mind, it becomes harder to think and see where he’s going. The film brings you into his mindset, everything feels so stressed and rushed, with everything going out of control towards the end. In the end, maybe he doesn’t really know if he shot his partner on purpose, but in the end, he does what he believes is right, and tries to stay himself in doing what’s right.


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