Archive for September 30, 2011

Insomnia 1997

Posted: September 30, 2011 in films, Norway, Scandinavia

The other night I recorded the original 1997 Norwegian version of Insomnia showing on Sky Arts at around midnight, and watched it at a more agreeable time. I will take the risk of being classified as an Art channel snob, or one of the chattering classes, and  say that I thought it was superior to director Christopher Nolan’s 2002 version. The last Nolan film I watched was the full of brilliant computer generated dream sequences blockbuster Inception, and perhaps Insomnia was too simple and spare a story for a Hollywood style treatment.

The original Norwegian Insomnia 1997 directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg, and written by him and Nikolaj Frobenius, starred the superb actor Stellan Skarsgard as Swedish cop Jonas Engstrom, sent to Northern Norway to solve the murder of a young girl. The other excellent but unknown to me actors helped create a believable atmosphere of tension as Engstrom, unable to sleep in the permanent light of the Arctic summer, begins to lose his grip on reality after a tragic incident in the fog.

Skarsgard has been in numerous movies but I remember him as Gregor in the gripping thriller Ronin, with Robert De Niro and Jean Reno. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed the original better than the 2002 remake, which starred Al Pacino and Robin Williams. To me Robin Williams will always be Patch Adams, and I can never accept him as a villain. 

Maybe I am just quirky always liking the original creation [despite the sub-titles] over any rehashed version.