Sleepless nights lying awake waiting to experience Christopher Nolan’s dreamworld? Here’s a special offer to help some of us (US residents) see Inception at a reduced price. On July 13th Warners releases the new Blu-ray transfer of Nolan’s icy 2002 thriller Insomnia, and just as NolanFans reported in March, it will come packaged with a $7.50 voucher for “Movie Money” that can be applied to your first, second or third ticket to Inception 3 days later. Blu-ray.com say the new edition is “an unexpectedly satisfying, altogether filmic presentation that tactfully complements Christopher Nolan’s isolated Alaskan hideaways and Wally Pfister’s burdensome shadows.”
First and foremost, the film’s colors are gorgeous. Savory, hearthlike hues imbue a cozy hotel with welcome warmth, clinical greens and icy silvers lend a callous quality to the Nightmute’s morgue, and wintry grays and earthy browns afflict a dilapidated lakeside cabin. Through it all, skintones remain natural and lifelike, only succumbing to slight flushing on rare occasion. Black levels are nearly impeccable, delineation teases and reveals exactly as it should, and contrast is strong and stable. Moreover, detail is exquisite. Crisp, refined textures are common and closeups look magnificent; landscapes are sharply defined and the film’s attractive veneer of grain is intact. In fact, the whole of the transfer is both proficient and pristine… From scene to scene, shot to shot, Insomnia earns its place among the most stunning catalog titles released this year. Filmfans and videophiles will be extremely pleased with the results.
Rundown of the disc’s special features after the cut.
- Director’s Commentary (106 minutes): Christopher Nolan has proven himself to be an engaging speaker time and time again, but his Insomnia commentary is particularly inspired, not to mention incredibly unique. The whole of the film is presented in the order in which it was shot, with subtitles identifying the production day and the corresponding scenes Nolan tackled. (For example: “Days 2 & 3, Scenes 86a, 91, 93, 95-106.”) Granted, watching a film unfold in such a fragmented state is a bit jarring, but it’s also fascinating. Nolan seizes the opportunity to focus on the nature and challenges of an actual, nonlinear shoot, discussing the actors’ development of their characters, the nuances of their ever-evolving performances, on-the-fly alterations made to the script and story, overcoming lighting and weather obstacles, specific coverage techniques and variances in takes, last-minute changes dictated by unforeseeable circumstances, and countless topics that aren’t generally covered in commentaries. It’s a different way to dissect a film, but I highly recommend giving Nolan your undivided attention.
- Scene Specific Commentaries (42 minutes): Individual scene-specific commentary tracks are available from actress Hilary Swank, screenwriter Hillary Seitz, director of photography Wally Pfister, production designer Nathan Crowley, and editor Dody Dorn. A “Play Combined Commentaries” option also allows users to enjoy the mini-tracks via a more traditional experience.
- Day for Night (SD, 8 minutes): A restrained but satisfying behind-the-scenes featurette in which Nolan and key members of his cast and crew discuss the production, elements of the story, Robin Williams’ performance, the look of the film, and more.
- 180 Degrees (SD, 17 minutes): Nolan and Pacino sit down for an unscripted conversation (circa 2002), and the results are well worth watching. Both men are forthcoming, thoughtful and candid, and their analysis of the film and its characters is terribly interesting.
- In the Fog (SD, 12 minutes): Cinematographer Wally Pfister and Production Designer Nathan Crowley reflect on footage they shot during preproduction.
- Eyes Wide Open (SD, 7 minutes): This brief, clip-heavy short introduces genuine insomnia, as well as several everyday men, women and physicians who deal with it on a daily basis.
- Additional Scene (SD, 3 minutes): A single, inconsequential scene with optional director’s commentary.
- From the Evidence Room (HD, 23 images): A basic stills gallery.
- Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 minutes)