Insomnia (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A veteran Swedish policeman, working out of Oslo, is in Northern Norway, tracking the psychotic killer of a beautiful young woman. We find out that he is a great detective, but with a penchant to make sexual advances on his witnesses and suspects, hence his exile from Stockholm.

After he discovers the victim's rucksack in a shed, he sets a trap. He announces on TV that they are still searching for the sack, and that when it is found it will reveal the identity of the killer. The killer does come back to the shed to retrieve it, but there is a tunnel out of the shed that the police did not know about. The police follow the killer through the tunnel until it emerges into the midst of a thick seaside fog. The detective sees a man with a gun, shoots, kills.


Marianne O. Ulrichsen shows her breasts from several angles in a sex scene.

Maria Mathiesen's breasts are seen from a distance, as she is being autopsied.

Oops. That was his partner he shot.

Using the cover of fog, he starts to fake evidence to make it look as if the other policeman had been killed by the escaping killer. One of the local detectives in Tromsų suspects that the Swedish detective is lying. Of course, there is someone who knows for certain that he is lying. The psychotic killer knows that he didn't shoot the partner, and uses this fact to manipulate the investigation. These various elements interweave.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Norwegian trailer and TV spot with English subtitles

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

Although it has some elements of a suspense/thriller, this is not really a thriller but a psychological study of two similar men - the detective and the killer - both full of themselves, both making inappropriate sexual advances at underage girls, both considering themselves above the rules.

This excellent Norwegian film, filmed entirely on location in Tromsų, was remade in 2002 as Insomnia. Check out the other review for some additional details and comparisons.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 3.5/4, Berardinelli 3.5/4,

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Arty psychological drama - brilliant, but appeals to a limited, niche audience.

Return to the Movie House home page