There was a $46 million remake called Insomnia in between that likely went a long way towards helping Nolan get more acquainted with the studio system — and on a movie with relatively low stakes (all things considered). Sure, his first film was made for peanuts, but if he had gone from $9 million Memento to $150 million Batman Begins, as so many indie directors are doing now, the transition might have been more difficult, and we may not have gotten the same Batman film we have now.
Either way, Insomnia is usually the movie that gets lost in his filmography, even with some terrific performances by Al Pacino and Robin Williams. While most remakes fail to live up to the original, it's pretty easy to argue that this retelling of the 1997 film Insomnia directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg stands on its own as quality film. One of the ways it does that is by changing things up stylistically, and simply using the core story as inspiration. In this terrific video for Fandor Keyframe, Kevin B. Lee compares a pivotal scene from both films and shows how they used different methods to achieve a similar end result:
Here is the trailer for Nolan's version (which shows you how much trailers have changed in the last decade):
And the foreign version directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg:
This comparison is great because it shows how many different and legitimate ways you film scenes that accomplish the same goal. Nolan and Skjoldbjærg are also developing their main characters in a slightly different way, which more suits the style of acting for Pacino and Skarsgård, respectively.
It's also a good lesson in Hollywood filmmaking versus much of Europe, with the remake aimed at an American audience that tends to like things a little louder and a bit faster. That might be a generalization, but for the most part whenever Hollywood remakes a foreign movie, they usually speed things up a bit.
Source: Fandor Keyframe