Christopher Nolan is the 'Dark Knight' of all directors. From The Following to Interstellar, his movies were cryptic in their own ways and gave more weight on to more complex and ambitious storylines. His career is highlighted only by box office blockbusters such as Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy.
A murder investigation that determines the fate of both the investigator and the suspect might have been a Nolan movie you missed. Insomnia was released in the year 2002 and was a remake of the 1997 movie of the same name.
Will Dormer is a homicidal detective and the main protagonist who is brought in for an investigation of the murder of a 17 year old girl in Nightmute, Alaska. 'Night-mute' might just describe how mysterious looking and rather quiet, the location of the murder is. Will is accompanied by Hap Eckhart and the duo is warmly welcomed by Ellie Burr in Nightmute and together with the local police, they start digging into the case.
Well, now if you're a fan of detective stories, then you might be aware of a multitude of various possible outcomes during a murder investigation. Most of the time, the suspect turns out to be the one you never expected it to be. However in Insomnia, that's not the case. During a pursuit on the suspect on a dull cold morning, Will enters a deep fog and accidently shoots his own partner, Eckhart, mistaking him for the suspect. Eckhart dies on the spot sparing few minutes to show his fear towards Will, something that he never expected Eckhart would show.
Will urges Eckhart to understand that it was an accident at his dying moment but to no avail. The title of the movie actually starts to make sense after this and it describes the traumatic condition Will begins to suffer from due to the guilt of killing his partner. A perfect reference is made by Ellie as she quotes "A good cop can't sleep because a piece of the puzzle is missing and a bad cop can't sleep because his conscience won't let him".
This incident tosses a trump card for the prime suspect in the movie. Walter Finch turns out to be a quite renowned author whose books are of high interest to the murdered 17 year old Kay Connell. She in fact had been visiting Finch on and off for help and advice on extending her hobby of writing books and poetry.
This regular routine transformed Finch from just a stranger to a mentor and a person who Kay could openly speak to. This is to say that Finch became the next big thing after a lover for Kay. Eventually on one tragic day, the relationship between them crossed the line as Kay visited Finch to find solace after an unhappy breakup with her boyfriend, Randy. Solace was found but then it was temporary as Finch had to get his hands covered in blood and the last thing Kay did was scream.
Moving back to the trump card, Finch somehow witnessed detective Will shooting his partner in that thick dense fog. The irony is that even I couldn't have spotted whose shooting who in that fog. Perhaps Finch was at a spot from where he could easily watch such an interesting event when none of the local police were there at that moment to see it. Since Will decides to hide his misdoing from the local police, Finch takes this opportunity and secretly contacts Will, meets with him and strikes a bargain. This is due to the fact that both Will and Finch are facing a dilemma. So the prime investigator and the prime suspect are secretly in cahoots.
Both parties agree upon a made up story for the local police in which Randy (Kay's boyfriend) is branded as the actual suspect so that they both can walk away from their own guilt. But will they? Does Finch walk away with murder or will the detective figure out a way on how to save his life and catch Finch red handed? This, I cannot spoil for you. Although I could say that the ending is honest enough.
One of the many skills of Nolan is that he is best at making a viewer not lose interest in his movies. This is by simply strengthening the storylines by giving them good directions. The ratings for Insomnia have a peak in Rotten Tomatoes with a 92%, a 7.2/10 from IMDb and 78% on Metacritic.