Projections - Movie Reviews

Vanilla Sky

Vanilla Sky

It's no wonder director Cameron Crowe  (Almost Famous) suggest that audiences give his thriller a second viewing before making up their minds whether or not they like it.  However, it would take more than a few times to figure out what is actually going on here.

Tom Cruise plays David Aames, a rich playboy who inherited 51% ownership of a publishing empire when his parents died in an accident.  He has no real regard for the business except showing up late for meetings, referring to his Board of Directors as the "Seven Dwarfs" and living his life as if it were a continual party.

The film opens with David having spent the night with Julie (Cameron Diaz).  Before leaving for work, he casually yells over his shoulder to re-set the alarm and that he'll call her sometime.  It's obvious that David means a lot more to Julie than she does to him.  In fact, he tells his friend Brian (Jason Lee) that she's just his sex buddy.  Julie, on the other hand, thinks that David made a promise by making love to her.

Later that night, at David's 33rd birthday party, Brian brings Sophia (Penelope Cruz), a girl he just met at the library.  David sees the beautiful girl from across the room and immediately zooms in on her, even though she came with his one and only friend.

With his attention on Sophia, David is still mindful that Julie is watching them from the corner of the room.  It's this unrequited love situation that sets up what does or does not happen afterward.

It won't be giving anything away by telling that Julie drives her car off a bridge with David in the passenger seat, the trailers give that away.  The story jumps back and forth quite a lot until David is questioned by a psychologist (Kurt Russell) about the murder of a girl.  Is the dead girl Sophia or Julie? or did Julie really die in the crash? or did David survive the crash but, come out of it severely scarred? or is the whole thing a dream?  What's real and what isn't - and who really cares?

I don't know about you, but I want to see a film and laugh or cry or be scared or moved in some way - I don't want to try to figure out want the heck is going on, and five minutes later discover that I was wrong, over and over for an hour and an half.

Cruise with his signature smile and good looks portrays a playboy with ease.  But his character is not very likable and it's difficult to care about what happens to him, especially with David's smug, superior attitude.

Penelope Cruz (who also starred in the original 1997 Spanish film that translates to "Open Your Eyes" on which this film is based) is the one good thing about Vanilla Sky.  Her beauty is luminescent and she has a freshness that makes her presence light up the screen.  She's the one real thing here, the rest is pretentious gobbledy-gook.

Vanilla Sky

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