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The 2002 remake of a 1997 Norwegian film about a Los Angeles homicide detective dispatched to a northern town to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Original vs. Remake

Posts: 2281
Location: Ontario, Canada
As we all know, Christopher Nolan's Insomnia is a remake of a Norwegian film. I, personally, have not seen the original film but there has been some debate over whether Nolan's version is superior to, inferior to, or matches the original.

I would like to know what you think if you've seen both films. Is Nolan's remake superior, inferior, or equal to the original and why.
Posts: 1883
Location: Leiden
There's a record store in town here that also sells Arthouse movies, Insomnia is one of them, but I have not bought it yet. I really wanted to buy it last week, but didn't at the last minute (I have a few busy evenings coming up, I wouldn't have the time to watch it.)

I will buy it later this week and ofcourse I will review it!
Posts: 2281
Location: Ontario, Canada
Erik wrote:I will buy it later this week and ofcourse I will review it!


Please do!
Posts: 1883
Location: Leiden
Alright, I just finished watching the original Insomnia. When I bought it, the guy who runs the store had this reaction: "Ah, the original Insomnia, not the Hollywood rip-off". I had a little chat about it, ("yeah, but the rip-off is Christopher Nolan!") but he still thinks the original version is better.
A little information about the plot of the film. Contains spoilers and the orignal ending.

Jonas Engström and his collegue Erik Vik are sent to the northern region of Norway, above the arctic circle. They have to investigate the murder of a 17 year old girl, a murder that hasn't been seen in that region for a long time. Because the region of the murder is above the arctic circle, the sun does not set anymore. It shines, 24 houres a day.
Engström is originaly from Sweden, but had to leave Sweden for a while after he got caught in a relationship with one of the main witnesses in an other case. He joined the police force of Norway and now had to investigate this case. He is not used to a never setting sun, which causes Insomnia.
At the second day of the investigation, the police force sets up a trap to catch the murderer. It ends in a foot-chase through the mountains in heavy fog. During the chase, the suspects fires a gun at the police men which makes Engström firing back and he hits. When he walks to the men he hit, it turns out he accidently shot his collegue Vik.
A second investigation starts, due to the murder on Erik Vik, and Engström decides to pin the murder on the suspect.

Shortly after the incident, Engström tracks down a writer, Jon Holt, that must have been involved in the case. During a search through his appartment he found nothing, but the writer found out he was there. Later that night, he calls him up and tells Engström to stay away. Engström tells Holt he wants to talk to him, but Holt dissagrees. Engström still can't sleep at night.
Engström finds Holt the next morning and chases him to a cable car that goes up a mountain. In the cable car they have a conversation. Holt explains to Engström that he never intended to kill the girl. It was an accident and that they had to pin the murder to her boyfriend, 'cause he often beat her up.
Engström dissagrees at first, but then Jon tells him he saw him when he shot Vik. If Holt got caught for the murder, then he would also tell them that Engström killed Vik.

They decide to cover up both murders by pinning them on the boyfriend. Engström hides the gun in his room and finds it later during a house search. The boyfriend is imideately arrested.
Holt and Engström meet eachother one more time, because they don't trust each other. Engström still thinks that Holt should be arrested instead of the boyfriend. They have a fight that ends in a chase though old and rotten piers. Holt makes one wrong step and falls through the wooden pier, breaks his back and drops into the water. Engström walks to him and sees him when he's still alive, though he does not save him. Holt dies.
The police discover that Holt had murdered the girl, and not the boyfriend. Engström still sticks to his story that Holt killed Vik and decides to go back to Sweden.


There are not many differences in the movie, but here are a few:
The movie is (even though it is in broad day light) more dark then Nolan's version. Engström does more cinister things. To name a few:
-The dead dog that Dormer shoots in they alley for the bullet is still alive in the orignal version.
-The hotel receptionist is much younger (somewhere around 18), and Engström get's attracted to her, even touches her.
-While interviewing Frøya in the car, she hits on Engström. Engström does touch her, while Dormer in Nolans version does not.

Other differences:
-Hilde (Ellie Bur in Nolan's version) finds out that Engström probably shot Vik by accident, but they do not speak of it. She just let him know she knows.
-Holt dies by accident, while in Nolan's version, he gets shot by Dormer.
-Dormer dies, Engström lives.
-The orignal version does not contain a chase scene that involves logs on the river.

I have to say that the whole style of the orignal version is better then Nolan's version. The story sounds more realistic in Norway then in Alaska. Besides that, I thought that Nolan's version was a bit too long and at some points a little boring. This movie is more up-tempo (a little shorter too) and does not get boring, not a moment.

That's it for now, if there are any more questions, please aks :)
Posts: 827
Location: Cardiff, UK
I havn't seen the Swedish version, but after your recomendation, I might give it a whirl. I don't rate the lead actor though I watched him in a film called Waz and he was terrible (and the film) lol.
Posts: 1883
Location: Leiden
He was fine in Insomnia. Not Al Pacino like, but he was ok.
Posts: 233
Location: Brazil
Now i want to see it!
Posts: 1885
Location: New Delhi, India
I don't think there is much difference between the original and remake. Both of them are quite good, IMHO. I would rate the original slightly ahead, but Nolan's remake is almost as good. :-)
Posts: 3861
I just recently watched the original. It was very good, however I found Nolan's version to have more to it. The story was more involved and the dialogue was much better in the American one, but they are both very good.
Posts: 163
Location: Italy
i'm curious about the original, but just because mr. Nolan gave it a shot :D
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