Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Martin Donovan
Ellie: A good cop can’t sleep because a piece of the puzzle is missing, and a bad cop can’t sleep because his conscience won’t let him. You said that once…
Will: I did? Well…sounds like somethin’ I’d say, doesn’t it?
In the midst of an internal affairs investigation, two Los Angeles detectives are sent to a small town in northern Alaska to assist in a murder case. While chasing the killer along a foggy coastline, Will Dormer (Pacino) accidentally shoots and kills his partner, Hap (Donovan), but blames it on the killer, who managed to escape. As the 24 hour daylight, and his own conscience, make it more and more difficult for Dormer to sleep, he also must deal with calls from the killer who knows exactly what happened in the fog that day.
This one is on my favorite movies list for a reason. I can watch it many a time without getting sick of it. I just love the way Christopher Nolan (yeah, the same guy that did the new Batman movies) directs a film. He can really inject a lot of emotion into simple scenes, using certain camera angles and music (by David Julyan) to expand upon some quality performances.
I’ve seen people say negative things about Pacino in this movie, but I’ve always felt he gets it just right. He’s a big time LA detective who enters the Alaska scene a bit overconfident. As things start to spiral out of control, and the sleepless days pile up, Dormer (and Pacino) gets more and more zombie-like. He plays it exactly as it should be.
Williams is pretty creepy as the calm, cool author, Walter Finch, who doesn’t really seem to think he’s done all that much wrong. In his mind, the murder was just an accident, and he plans to write his way out of being caught.
Hilary Swank, as local detective Ellie Burr, is sort of the glue that holds the movie together. In a way, she can be viewed as Dormer’s conscience personified. She’s in charge of investigating Hap’s death, and as she gets closer and closer to realizing Dormer’s account of the incident isn’t true, the pressure is raised on Dormer to try to pin Hap’s murder on Finch.
It’s a well acted, well scripted, and beautifully shot movie with only a few flaws here and there. I thought it maybe had a few scenes that weren’t edited terribly well, and the chase sequence was a little weak and unnecessary. I mean, the use of stunt doubles was painfully obvious whenever Dormer had to do anything remotely athletic.
But hey, overall, great movie. Now go get some sleep, Al!
Nightmute, Alaska is the halibut fishing capital of the world. (Though, the googles say Homer, Alaska is actually the halibut fishing capital of the world. Where does the truth lie?)
10 – .4 for a couple oddly edited scenes and continuity errors – .7 for the lame chase sequence = 8.9