NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  Christopher Nolan attends the "Interstellar" New York premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 3, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
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How Christopher Nolan Used Daylight To Make Insomnia Feel Even Darker
After Christopher Nolan made “Following” and “Memento,” it was clear that subversive psychological thrillers were his forte. Consequently, Warner Bros. selected Nolan to direct the remake of the 1997 Norwegian film noir “Insomnia,” and the filmmaker would again subvert the conventions of the genre by using natural light to emphasize darker images.
Nolan explained to Movie Web in 2002, “Having daylight constantly present in the background of a scene actually allows you to create even darker images [...] dark interiors where somewhere in the back of the room there is a window with some sort of light peeping in [...] allows you to create very dark silhouettes, and forms, interesting textures, and depths.”
Nolan plays with the contrast between light and dark as Al Pacino’s character experiences the stress of a murder case, the accidental killing of his partner, and the ceaseless irritation of sunlight — all compounding into a debilitating case of insomnia for him. It’s a daring film noir that led Nolan to make the leap from independent filmmaker to Hollywood blockbuster director.