"Nolan once again displays an unmistakable visual confidence and a feeling for bravura moments like a nerve-wracking chase across a slippery logjam floating down a frigid river... As he showed with Guy Pearce in 'Memento,' Nolan is also adept at working with actors, and the beneficiaries this time are not only Pacino, but also co-stars Robin Williams and Hilary Swank, all of whom profit from the director's ability to elicit reined-in performances. No one benefits from this tight control more than the veteran Pacino...By not going over the top, Pacino allows us to intuit the strength behind the anguished, haunted mask, reminding us why he was such a compelling actor in the first place." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"Small and shrunken, spectre-gray, Pacino spends most of the movie behaving like a vampire who hasn't had a decent bite in weeks... Christopher Nolan showed his hand to dazzling effect in 'Memento,' and his sense of location, of places beaten up by a wrecking crew of desperate or disappointed humans, has not deserted him. The trouble is that his skills are now applied to a tale that can scarcely bear the pressure of his sophistication...Williams and Pacino just don't mesh. Pacino's mind is elsewhere, and Williams has the quick-smiling jumpiness of a man not with a noisome secret to hide but with a fresh halibut down his pants." --Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"With his grave eyes and long face, Al Pacino doesn't need to feign sleeplessness in 'Insomnia.' He looks here pretty much the way he always does -- hungover with turmoil. And yet, no matter how familiar he may seem, Pacino always manages to wrest a few new variations on that sodden, blasted ferocity of his. He's one of the few major stars from the seventies who still seems invigorated by acting, eager for new dares...Williams is on a public crusade right now to expunge his inner 'Patch Adams,' and I can only applaud him for that, but it will take more than a reasonably effective rendition of a bogeyman to scrape away the treacle. Pacino is the real reason to see this film..." -Peter Rainer, New York

"Shorn of his manic comic genius, Robin Williams is about the most uninteresting man to get a big movie since someone tried to make a star out of Brian Bosworth. If he's not purging his id of its demons, dancers and dwarfs at the speed of a jet, who cares?...We only arrive at Williams's spectacular mediocrity after too long a time. The movie begins with the arrival of Pacino -- growly, grouchy, eating the camera almost to the f-stop regulator, his eyes purple with angst...Nolan clearly didn't have the nerve to rein in Pacino....he seems overwhelmed by the budget, the egos of the stars, the thinness of the script, and he doesn't impose much personality on the picture." -Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"... intensely sharp-witted remake of the noir thriller...The plot tricks that 'Insomnia' plays on the audience take a back seat to Mr. Nolan's wily faith in the seductiveness of guilt, an old familiar sting that we can all appreciate, though not on the level that the characters here feel. Not if we're lucky, anyway." -Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"What we have here is your basic good-cop-bad-cop story, except that those two characters are wrapped into one, with Pacino giving one of his terrific tormented performances ... Williams is also good - an entrancing smoothy...the film represents a triumph of atmosphere over a none-too-mysterious is thoughtful, quietly disturbing proof of a young director's gift." -Richard Schickel, Time

"Pacino and Williams are very good together. Their scenes work because Pacino's character, in regarding Williams, is forced to look at a mirror of his own self-deception... Williams reminds us that he is a considerable dramatic talent--and that while, over the years, he has chosen to appear in some comedic turkeys ('Death to Smoochy' leaps to mind), his serious films are almost always good ones."
--Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times