Ace Los Angeles detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and his partner, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan), fly into a small, Alaskan fishing village to investigate the grisly murder of a teenage girl. When Will and Hap are chasing a suspect, reclusive writer Walter Finch (Robin Williams), through a dense fog, Will accidentally shoots Hap, who dies at the scene. An intense, heart-stopping series of events follow as Will desperately tries to cover up his mistake, solve the case and deal with a vicious killer who taunts him with what happened in the fog. 24 hours of light in the Alaskan summer makes sleep impossible for the visiting detective, whose legendary case-solving skills begin to deteriorate. Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank), a young, dedicated local detective eager to learn from the master investigator, joins Will. INSOMNIA’s stellar cast, intricate plot and suspense demand viewers’ rapt attention — don’t close your eyes for a moment.
Will, already under investigation for tampering with evidence and doing it again, rationalizes that the end justifies the means. However, when Ellie offers to destroy incriminating evidence, Will advises her not to follow that path. As usual, Hollywood portrays law enforcement officers as foul-mouthed. At least 51 obscenities, including 34 f-words and 10 s-words, pollute the dialogue. The vicious killer stalks Will, luring him into a series of life-threatening situations. A near drowning, brutal fighting and shoot-outs are very intense, but graphic descriptions of the teenager’s torture and killing give viewers insight into the killer’s demonic mind. The climatic confrontation between the killer and Will is particularly graphic and violent. With the exception of one brief glimpse of the murder victim’s nude body, INSOMNIA has little sexual content. Discerning viewers who refuse to support films with filthy language will certainly avoid this thriller and hope Hollywood pays attention.