It sticks in many ways to the template of the original, blending its themes with more familiar Hollywood genre elements, while breathing new life into these conventions. Taking refuge from an Internal Affairs Investigation, LA detectives Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) fly to the small town of Nightmute to help the local cops, including the ambitious young Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank), investigate the murder of a schoolgirl.
A series of clues points to local thriller writer Walter Finch (Robin Williams), the dead girl’s former secret mentor. The action takes place in midsummer, so the sun never sets, reversing the usual lighting scheme of the classic noir, and acting as a catalyst for the insomnia which afflicts the main characters. Nolan expresses this insomnia with some audacious flourishes of sound and editing and proves his assurance in handling his first big picture.