Insomnia (1997)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  29 May 1998 (USA)
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Reviews: 92 user | 62 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 »


Early in the film at the autopsy scene, the boom mic can be seen momentarily at the top of the screen. See more »


Remade as Insomnia (2002) See more »


Original Soundtrack by Biosphere
Music Written and Produced by Geir Jenssen
Vocals by Mia Kaarinadotter
Alania mix by Rune Lindbæk, Torbjørn Brundtland, Ole Johan Mjøs
Released by Origo Sound, Norway
See more »

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User Reviews

Thriller in the classic Scandinavian style
8 September 1999 | by (Calgary, Canada) – See all my reviews

Insomnia is a criminal thriller shot in the classic Scandinavian style, a combination we're only seeing rather recently. When a teenaged girl turns up dead in a landfill, a homicide team is sent up from Oslo to back up the local police, who are ill-equipped to handle such a murder owing to its infrequency. Above the Arctic Circle, the lead detective is like a fish out of water - the 24-hour daylight drives him crazy and he is desperate to get out.

The scenes have a cold, bare feel to them, like the shooting locations (Tromsø and environs) and the protagonist/antagonist, Jonas Engstrøm (Stellan Skarsgård). Stark is a good word - but it is effective, and also beautiful. Bjørn Floberg also turns in a solid performance as the prime suspect. I found Skarsgård's female foil (Gisken Armand) a bit cloying but that's not enough to bring the whole film down.

Skarsgård's intensity is impressive and captivating, and the dynamic between his character and the others (he is Swedish, they are Norwegian) helps keep you interested. It's interesting to see how being a murder cop hardens a person - whether that person is Norwegian, Swedish, or American doesn't matter.

I would definitely recommend this film. It's a powerful and beautiful work that deserves to be seen.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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