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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Vanilla Sky (2001)


I thought Tom Cruise was confused in Eyes Wide Shut, but damn was I wrong!

David Aames (Tom Cruise) has it all: wealth, good looks and a gorgeous woman (Cameron Diaz) on his arm. But just when he’s found true love with warmhearted Sofia (Penélope Cruz), his face is horribly disfigured in a car accident, and he loses everything … or does he?

Vanilla Sky is directed by Cameron Crowe, and this is a remake of a Spanish film called Open Your Eyes. Once again, an American director is remaking a foreign classic, however, this is not so bad compared to others of that demographic.

I think my favorite element of this film is Crowe’s direction. It seemed kind of odd having his guy direct this type of material, but he has a bigger budget this time, and he spends it all so dearly. The film starts off all normal, with a sensational shot of a deserted Times Square, but then the car accident happens, and that’s when shit gets out of whack. However, it’s also so well done.

The film gets a lot of ish talked on it because it doesn’t make all that much sense the first time around, but that’s because you won’t be able to get it really the first time around. It’s one of those films that right from the beginning you have to pay close attention to every little detail, because they eventually will come back up later in the film. I also found myself finding a lot of beauty within this film, and some shots are just so perfect the way they look, and gets you this idea that you are in dream-like state of some sort.  There are little clues to the real idea behind this whole story that you kind of have to look at, and at first you’ll be totally confused but if you can look past all the confusion and look at the clues underneath it all, you’ll find a real, brilliant message from the story.

The message is that the world we live in, is it just a dream, and if so how far do our dreams go, until they become nightmares. David Aames is a douche who thinks he’s got it all, but then in a quick second he loses it all, and creates this world of fiction where everything is perfect, and means something. What does reality consist of? This film searches for those answers and although they may not be telling you them right in the open to your face, it’s the idea of looking at everything and thinking is where the real beauty of this film lies.

My only gripe with this film is that I do feel like their are times where the film loses itself. Especially the ending since it kind of gives everything in a way that we aren’t really expecting. I feel like Crowe gives too much of a conclusion to this story and the reason as to what is happening, but somehow you can’t be too sure really. This is a minor complaint, because even though I feel like I have the whole story already thought out, I can’t be too sure honestly.

Tom Cruise does a lot with David Aames here, and it’s not easy stuff to do in the first place. Cruise has to play this narcissistic asshole, that goes through a whole bunch of transformations as he starts to have no idea just exactly what the hell is going on. His character gains a lot of depth, and many of the more emotionally intriguing scenes are from Cruise, and his crazy, balls-to-the-walls performance. Penelope Cruz is very likable here as Sofia, and you can see why Cruise’s character fell in love with her after all. Cameron Diaz is sickly sexual as Julianna, and brings out the films best performance because her character is so disturbing, and crazy that you almost feel like she is a big nightmare. There’s also some nice little side performances from the likes of Jason Lee, Kurt Russell, Timothy Spall, and the always creepy in any film Tilda Swinton.

Consensus: It may be too ambitious at points, but Cameron Crowe’s fearless direction brings out intelligent points about dreams, the life we live, among others, and the performance add more dimensions to this film than you expect.

9/10=Full Price!!

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10 responses to “Vanilla Sky (2001)

  1. Steven Flores April 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    It’s an all right film though again, I more prefer the original film.

    I like Cameron Crowe and he pulled out some great visuals. I just wasn’t into it storywise. I also had qualms about the performances of Tom Cruise (who I’m not a fan of though he’s done performances I do like) and Cameron Diaz (who has her moments).

    At least it wasn’t Elizabethtown. That was absolutely horrible.

  2. Dan April 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Good review Dan. This is one of those films I just haven’t been able to get into. Can’t put my finger on why I don’t like it but I think Cameron Crowe finds it harder to do cynicism than sentimentality.

  3. Sarah @ Shades of Sarah April 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I haven’t seen Vanilla Sky yet – though I’ve heard terrible things – and I just can’t take it seriously. Like, look at the movie poster. Just no.

  4. Andrew April 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Lord, I absolutely despised this movie. It all comes down to Tom Cruise screaming “tech support” in one of the most overwrought and ridiculously, badly directed moments of 2001. And in the discussion of remakes, this one may be the best example of a movie that really should never have existed– the original is excellent and needs no improvement or reinterpretation, giving this one almost no reason to have been made. Good review, Dan, but man I just cannot get behind this movie save to give it a swift kick in the ass.

  5. kodie131 April 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Great flick, though I haven’t seen it in years. It reminded me of Crowe trying to do something kind of David Lynch-ish. Great review!

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