A part of this view­ing listCri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion Spine #47:Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Insom­nia.

Ever need a good night’s sleep so bad­ly that you just stop car­ing about any­thing and every­thing around you? Your moral­i­ty fog­gi­ly dis­in­te­grates, your goals become dis­joint­ed, your ego shriv­els, and even your id is only capa­ble of short bursts of primeval action. That’s what life in gen­er­al is like above the Arc­tic Cir­cle, appar­ent­ly. Even worse if you’re a dis­graced inves­ti­ga­tor from below the cir­cle and you show up dur­ing the Mid­night Sun to solve a seem­ing­ly per­fect mur­der and you get so messed up on sleep depri­va­tion that you acci­den­tal­ly kill your part­ner while the mur­der­er you’re hunt­ing watch­es.

All of this is won­der­ful­ly con­veyed through the ter­ri­fy­ing, even­ly lit atmos­phere of Nor­way, the con­stant white light, white fog, white sky, white build­ings is near­ly sick­en­ing; the blur­ri­ness between real­i­ty and hal­lu­ci­na­tion, often con­veyed through spin­ning, dis­ori­ent­ed cam­era move­ments, puts a view­er in near­ly the same emo­tion­al state as Detec­tive Engstrom. While we loll about pas­sive­ly in our stu­por we watch him push him­self to both appre­hend the killer and pro­tect his own ass.

While the sto­ry is a fair­ly typ­i­cal crime dra­ma, the added con­ceit pro­vid­ed by an envi­ron­ment where the sun just spins around the sky adds anoth­er lay­er of dif­fi­cul­ty to the plot, and the addi­tion­al “what is real” adds a believ­able ele­ment of uncer­tain­ty to the film that is akin to some­thing you’d expect from a psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror film but that doesn’t require a sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief to gain pur­chase.

I have no inter­est in watch­ing the Hol­ly­wood remake star­ring Al Paci­no in Alas­ka.