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WSR Detailed DVD Review
2002 / Widescreen
Genre: Thriller

Reviewed In Issue 67 (Dec 2002) Of Widescreen Review®

Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Maura Tierney, Martin Donovan, Nicky Katt & Paul Dooley

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 4.5
DD Sound Rating: 4
DTS Sound Rating: NA
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 4
Internet Links
Special Features
Special features include four featurettes (a conversation with Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino, the eight-minute "Day For Night: The Making Of Insomnia," and a very cool six-minute "In The Fog" featurette with different points of view from two separate commentaries: one with cinematographer Wally Pfister and the other with production designer Nathan Crowley) and commentaries (with director Christopher Nolan; as well as separate scene-specific recordings by Pfister, Crowley, Hilary Swank, screenwriter Hillary Seitz, and editor Dody Dorn) which can be played combined or separately. There is also an eight-minute featurette on real insomniacs called "Eyes Wide Open," an additional scene with optional commentary, promotional materials (posters, stills, and the theatrical trailer), filmographies, and DVD-ROM enhancements.

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): Warner Home Video
(Catalog Number): 23307
(MPAA Rating): R
(Rating Reason):

language, some violence and brief nudity
(Retail Price): $26.98
(DVD Type): Single Side, Dual Layer (DVD9)
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): No
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 118
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 2002
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 10/15/02
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

 Credits Information

(Director): Christopher Nolan
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  DVD Picture Information

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  DVD Sound Information

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  WSR Narrative Review
Special Notes:
Also available in a separate pan-and-scan edition.

Story Synopsis:
On a special assignment to investigate the murder of a girl in a small Alaska town, veteran LAPD detective Will Dormer (Pacino) accidentally shoots his partner while trying to apprehend the suspect (Williams) in a thick fog. Instead of telling the truth, the detective uses the suspect as a scapegoat. But just as soon as his scapegoat becomes an unlikely alibi, the ever-shining Midnight Sun wreaks a severe case of Insomnia upon Dormer

DVD Picture:
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 DVD offers excellent sharpness and detail, with well balanced shadow delineation and contrast. Colors are rich, with appropriate stylizations to enhance certain moods for the storytelling. Fleshtones appear natural and blacks are deep and solid. The pivotal chase through the thick fog is depicted with smooth images and little bothersome pixelization. Edge enhancement can be quite annoying when present. (Suzanne Hodges)

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio presentation doesn't necessarily call for prominent, very aggressive surround usage, yet the utilization of envelopment is both dramatic and effective. The music score, which has been nicely recorded, carries much of the dimensionality, with a nicely immersive spatial character. It also can have a nice deep bass foundation with .1 LFE activity. Chapter 9 features an especially effective instance of the role of subtle atmosphere in the creation of an uneasy, suspenseful situation. The dialogue is particularly clear in nature, having been well-produced, and sounds impressively natural in tonality and spatial placement. (Perry Sun)