Swedish detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) is currently in Norway, investigating the murder of a 17-year-old girl, but an accident leads him into a maelstrom of lies and deceit. Director Erik Skjoldbjaerg’s first film, a critically acclaimed thriller, shows what kind of impact the northern light can have on someone who is not used to it. In this story, darkness is a friend and the light is the enemy. Skarsgård brings a lot to the party; lack of sleep wears his character down and his minimalist acting near the end of the film convincingly shows a man at the end of his rope. The foggy landscape looks desolate but there is nevertheless a stark beauty to it.
1997-Norway. 97 min. Color. Produced by Petter J. Borgli, Tomas Backström, Tom Remlov. Directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg. Screenplay: Nikolaj Frobenius, Erik Skjoldbjaerg. Cinematography: Erling Thurmann-Andersen. Cast: Stellan Skarsgård (Jonas Engström), Sverre Anker Ousdal (Erik Vik), Gisken Armand (Hilde Hagen), Björn Floberg, Maria Bonnevie, Kristian Figenschow.
Trivia: Remade in the U.S. as Insomnia (2002).
Last word: “I can say yes to some directors without even reading a script. But the first-time directors I’ve worked with, the scripts have not been perfect, but they had something that I liked. Like ‘Insomnia’, which was […] with a first-time director, with a man who had an energy and an urge to tell something that I trusted. You work on a script and you discuss it, and eventually, hopefully, you get somewhere.” (Skarsgård, Den of Geek)