Makes me appreciate sleepy time a lot more.
Sent to investigate the murder of a teenage girl in a small Alaska town, police detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) accidentally shoots his partner, Hap (Martin Donovan), while trying to apprehend a suspect (Robin Williams). But in spite of his guilt, he’s still determined to solve the case. Hilary Swank co-stars as a local detective who hampers Dormer’s efforts based on her suspicions about the circumstances of Hap’s death.
This little treat here is directed by everyone’s new favorite director, Christopher Nolan. Yes, that Christopher Nolan, and somehow I have loved almost all of his movies he has put out, this is just not like those.
The one thing that Nolan does right with all of his movies no matter the plot, is that he always can make everything so dark. He does a great job here of giving us a simple detective story, but adds on another dimension, with his questions on who’s the good guys, and who’s the bad guys. Nolan brings these questions up very well, and with a compelling score, and otherwise perfect setting for a mystery thriller, he does an effective job of filming this material, as always.
My only problem with this film is that the plot is nothing amazing, and way too straight-forward I felt to actually be compelling enough to hold my interest. I stuck with this film because it’s Nolan, and as always, I was expecting some sort of a little surprise but the plot is already decided half-way through the film, and then we’re just left there to watch as really almost nothing happens. I think Nolan was trying to break grounds here by giving us the whole plot, and have us stay tuned to how it all played out. It wasn’t a bad approach, but I found myself a little annoyed by the sure predictability and slow-pace of this film.
Al Pacino is amazing with any role that he does, and here as Detective Dormer, is no different. Pacino does a great job of showing this cop’s good side, as well as his evil side very well. I don’t think that Detective Dormer, was all that of a likable character, but somehow Pacino uses his magic, and us rooting for him, even though we don’t know if he’s the good or bad guy. Hilary Swank is spot on as the over-educated and under-experienced Detective Burr. She does a great job of putting herself into this role, and becoming a key part of this story, more than people actually expected. However, I thought the best out of the cast was indeed Robin Williams, who seems in need of a career re-boot. Williams plays the sly, devious villain so well here that I think they could have gotten rid of the idea of us seeing him so early in the film, and it still would have worked incredibly well. He brings that signature geniality to the role, and gives us the creepier side to his acting. Don’t do crap like Old Dogs Robin, do stuff like this!
Consensus: Nolan’s dark direction works well with this material, and the performances are good, but the story just isn’t all that surprising, and doesn’t keep the viewers too glued in to the whole story, thus becoming an alright generic thriller.