- Gareth Crook
Filling my final Nolan hole. This is another early one, I guess his first outing with some big names. We have homicide detective Al Pacino flying into rural Alaska, greeted by enthusiastic local cop Ellie (Hilary Swank). He’s like a cross between a well groomed Columbo and Sherlock Holmes. Al plays Will, his sidekick is Hap (Martin Donovan). There’s a little tension between them over police politics and career interests, it’s a bit flat, but takes a dramatic twist in the midst of a fog filled gun chase with the suspect of the murder they’ve come to solve. One that sees Hap thankfully put out of his misery and Will press the button on his own demise. Alaska is a beautiful place and it looks great on screen not too surprising when the DOP is Wally Pfister. It feels a little wasted though. Especially when the place is bathed in near perpetual daylight. Pacino does his scene chewing thing, playing the renegade tortured cop, hiding his secrets, whilst trying to do his job on zero sleep (the perpetual daylight thing). It’s all a bit mundane though and I’m itching for it to take on more interesting quirk. Maybe it’s the location, but I’d love a bit of Twin Peaks or Northern Exposure weirdness. That’s not where this is going though. It’s a standard crime thriller. Even Robin Williams as the suspect bad guy Walter doesn’t help much and I love Williams when he plays a serious role. Walter’s a writer, a crime writer. A guilty crime writer and essentially that’s what this boils down to. A guilty crime geek and a guilty cop dancing around one another as they try to help one another, but never at the expense of themselves. Psychologically it has its interesting moments, but aside Will’s enforced Insomnia, there’s not much to lift this. Even with Pacino, Williams and Swank, I’m thankful when this comes to a close. It nearly sent me to sleep.