Alaska is a cold beautiful place where the sun shines 22 hours a day during certain times of the year. Not exactly the kind of place a man who has trouble falling asleep will feel like going. But Alaska is also a place where people go to hide from their pasts. This dilemma is used to good effect by Christopher Nolan in his follow-up to his brilliant film Memento.

Mr. Nolan has chosen three of the most irritating artists to play the lead roles. Al Pacino is the detective suffering from the affliction. Robin Williams is a shady writer who has trouble keeping away from trouble and Hillary Swank is a young police officer learning the ropes. So when a murder happens in a remote Alaskan town, Pacino and his partner from L.A, go out there to help his buddy to help investigate the terrible crime.

Mr. Nolan’s bag of tricks is empty this time This picture is a fairly straightforward thriller with no real plot twists or surprises. The only instrument -- and used brilliantly -- at Mr. Nolan’s disposal is the metaphor of the raw scenic ever sunny beauty of Alaska and the hero’s aware awake raw affliction. Mr. Pacino looks more like a sick dog than he has ever looked before. We can’t help but feel sorry for him even though we are not really ever sure whether it is wise.

Robin Williams trying to change his pathetic image is just about bearable. He is not very different though and you are half afraid he will jump in your face with a Patch Adams drenched stethoscope. If only he was not so jello-like.

Hillary swank is the real winner here. She is an almost perfect good cop – enthusiastic, cheerful and competent and above all – young to Pacino’s lethargic, ailing, old bad cop.

Insomnia, a remake of a Norwegian film, does not stand up to Memento. Does not look like Mr. Nolan was aiming so high. Yet it is taut, entertaining and beautiful – far more than most Hollywood fare out there.