Blank Check with Griffin and David Wiki

Insomnia is episode 116 focusing on the movie of the same name, as part of the The Pod Knight Casts miniseries covering the filmography of Christopher Nolan. Posted 9 Jul 2017.


Writer and director, Alex Ross Perry (Golden Exits), joins Griffin and David to discuss 2002’s psychological thriller remake, Insomnia. But does this movie fit into the tradition of the auteur’s bizarre third feature? What has changed about Al Pacino’s acting post-Oscar win? How is this film another example of Nolan playing with noir conventions? Together, they discuss Robin Williams’ 2002, Hilary Swank’s career trajectory, how Darren Aronofsky came the closet to taking on Batman before Nolan did and why it’s implausible the Alaskan police chief played by Paul Dooley would also conveniently be a former LAPD detective. [1]

Filmmaker and one-time Videology Trivia rival of #TheTwoFriends Alex Ross Perry comes into the AudioBoom Studios. He's also a blankie, so he knows what he's in for and fits comfortably into the Blank Check dynamic.

Alex wanted specifically to talk about Christopher Nolan's third movie, Insomnia. It is a bit overlooked in his filmography and he wanted to rewatch it with a critical eye in context of what he knows Nolan went on to do. Interestingly, Alex has a bit of a personal connection to Nolan too - this is a big get!

Insomnia is a mid-budget procedural with a bunch of award winners on the cast. There are a lot of hacky examples of this type of cop movie, and these days this type of script just goes to TV instead, but boy this is good and it holds up today.

This was Al Pacino's first movie after a few years' break - was it his last film performance as a Serious Actor? Robin Williams often either goes Full Robin Williams for comedy, or completely zeroes it out for dramas - but here, how does he subtly leverage his own persona in a nervy way to serve his character? As this was the first project where Nolan was working with a studio budget, how was he able to use the funds towards an aesthetic that we can now recognize as his personal style? How does this directing job set up Nolan for a positive career progression, as compared with, say, Darren Aronofsky's project choices?

Oh, and this is a remake of a Swedish movie. Just thought it should be mentioned, since Griffin went the extra mile and watched the original too.

Milestones and Ephemera[]

  • Alex's contribution to the Blank Check Lexicon: "blender"
  • Paramount VHS Home Video: used an audio fanfare
  • Hillary Swank: great actor, weird career
  • Maura Tierney's personal preferred cinematographer: Wally Pfister
  • Pacino's Detective Will Dormer: future Blank Check pitchman
  • "You guys are so smart." -- Ben Hosley
  • David teases a The Devil Wears Prada episode, which has two of the most “hurtful discarded meals”