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Insomnia (1997)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  29 May 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,625 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 61 critic

In a Norwegian city with a 24-hour daylight cycle a Swedish murder investigator has been brought in on a special case. Sleep deprived, he makes a horrible mistake which is discovered by the killer he has been hunting.



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Complete credited cast:
Maria Mathiesen ...
Sverre Anker Ousdal ...
Gisken Armand ...
Kristian Figenschow ...
Arne Zakariassen (as Kristian Fr. Figenschow)
Thor Michael Aamodt ...
Tom Engen
Frode Rasmussen ...
Chief of Police
Bjørn Moan ...
Marianne O. Ulrichsen ...
Bjørn Floberg ...


In a Norwegian city with a 24-hour daylight cycle, a Swedish murder investigator is brought in to find an elusive killer. But when the officer accidentally kills his own partner and covers it up, a double sided game of cat-and-mouse ensues. Written by Daniel Jos. Leary

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Den som synder, sover ikke. [He who sins, does not sleep.]


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

29 May 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bezsennosc  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$20,366 (USA) (29 May 1998)


$221,173 (USA) (11 December 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This movie was remade in 2002 by Christopher Nolan With the same title See more »


When Jonas is hit by the car during the bus chase scene, in the close-up shots of the windshield he clearly cracks it but in the wide shots it is unmarked. See more »


References Vertigo (1958) See more »


Hos Tanja
Music by Alanïa
Rune Lindbæk/Ole Mjøs/Thorbjørn Brundtland
See more »

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User Reviews

I never knew light could be so disturbing.
31 January 2003 | by (Burlington, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Usually, when a director wants to set a dark mood, he or she relies on shadows and gloom in the camera frame. Here the exact opposite has been achieved through the perpetual midnight sun which throws the descent of Jonas Engstrom into madness all too clearly. At first the effect is subtle, but as the picture continues and there is never any nightfall one begins to feel the same bone-deep weariness and lethargy experienced by the protagonist. I watched it for the first time late at night and it completely threw me off my sleep cycle for the night. Most powerful.

I speak neither Swedish nor Norwegian, but I didn't find the subtitles a hindrance at all--indeed, I much prefer subtitles to dubbing every time. I found that I had to work harder to notice everything that was happening on screen, which was a welcome change from the constant "eye candy" that seems to be the norm coming out of the movie business these days. All of the performances were understated yet brilliant, especially, of course, that of Stellan Skarsgard. I was particularly intrigued by the opening title sequence, showing the murder through the eyes of the murderer in a disjointed and confused sped-up manner, and this point of view is a foreshadowing of how both Engstrom and the viewer will feel by the end of the picture.

I have not seen the remake yet, and I'm not sure that I want to do so. The Hollywood movie business never seems to know when to leave well enough alone. I'll be able to make a better recommendation when or if I get around to the remake.

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