Director: Erick Skjoldboerg

A Swedish homicide detective, Jonas Engstrom (superbly played Stellan Skarsgard of Breaking the Waves and Ronin), and his partner Erik Vik (Sverre Anker Ousdal), travel to northern Norway (the Land of the Midnight Sun) to help the local police investigate the murder of a teenage girl. While chasing a suspect, Jonas accidentally shoots and kills Erik, placing the blame on the suspect. From then on, the fate of the hunter and the hunted become intertwined and Jonas, suffering from acute sleep deprivation and feelings of guilt, becomes entangled in a web of paranoia, deceit and cover-ups.
Insomnia is a remarkably polished and thoughtful first feature by Norwegian director Erick Skjoldboerg. The film offers a complex and emotionally compelling tale that doesn’t settle for mere quirkiness or the gore of most contemporary cop thrillers. Aided by Skargard’s performance, Skjoldboerg provides a superbly plotted dissection of the detective’s professional and moral corrosion. He also makes excellent use of the snowy landscapes and perpetual light, which play a key part in capturing the detective’s increasing sense of disorientation. The screenplay is a deft melding of a study of psychological dissolution and the crime thriller genre, and, together with cinematographer Erling Thurmann-Andersen, Skjoldboerg had given the material vivid cinematic expression.

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