I’d lean towards the supporting characters that aren’t just filling in for the leads, they have got some gunpowder in their pocket.
Nolan tases you with a sassy outlook on a crime thriller that flips the priorities and expectations of the viewers. But hold onto your hats, for unlike the textbook Nolan phenomenon, we are in awe with the journey rather than the big reveal of the film. In the sense that it is more fascinating to see who is what then who-dun-it case. And on that note the plot takes a major turn on making the detective a criminal. And it is not until in later stage you find that road taken by him, when you see Will Dormer played by Al Pacino panting and worried sick about getting caught from the police of his very own department. Will, a hardcore successful detective, finds himself on a new case that haunts him back to his own self.
The only feature, as of now, to mark in Nolan’s filmography where he contributes only as a director and not a writer. Although it is said that he did write a rough draft of the screenplay. And I was really excited to see him pull off someone else’s material and quite early in the film I was assured that this heavy yet sensitive responsibility couldn’t have gotten a better caretaker. And it is that fog crime scene in its first act that shows you, how precise Nolan is on projecting himself exquisitely to what is told in the paper.
You cannot not mention the interrogation scene between Robin Williams and Al Pacino when talking about this film. And yes, I get that it has much more juicy whistleblowing information revealed where the entire film hinges upon. But it is also a testament on how to “look” in an act. How to gaze at each other, Pacino, and not gaze at each other, Williams, and play cards with higher stakes. P.S. it is a joy to watch Pacino evolve into a person suffering from Insomnia step by step, frame by frame, just with the way he handles his eyes and how they hung low with his brow as the film ages on screen.