Vanilla Sky (2001) Paramount Pictures
2 hrs. 19 mins.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz and Kurt Russell.
Directed by: Cameron Crowe

Vanilla Sky



Photo: Paramount Pictures

Open your eyes. There isn't any better advice. Take it all in and in some way you will love this film, maybe so much so that you may even want to see it again. This film may even change your life!!... Or than again maybe not, but that's only because I somehow believe we've all become uncapable of even trying to know ourselves and what we want. It's an important realization I came to when seeing this film.

David Aames (Cruise) has the life we all think we want, the life he thinks he wants. He's rich, he's handsome, he sleeps with beautiful women, and above all, he lives as he pleases. That is until his luck runs out one day when Julie (Diaz), a women he has casual sex with, purposely drives her car off an overpass with him in it. He does not die, but rather awakens after a month-long coma with his face mangled, and left to live a tortured and tormented life. Gone are his looks, his confidence, his power, but above all he has lost touch with the women he fell in love with one day before the incident... her name is Sofia (you'll adore Penelope Cruz in this part, not to mention believe that a man can fall in "love" at first sight).

Did I have any problems with this movie? Not one. I let it take me where ever it was going and sat there with my eyes open wide (it wasn't just a clever tag line). I took it all in, and at the end let out my feelings in a sigh that seemed to last minutes. Seeing this film triggered something in me. It made me feel as though I, myself had been offered a second chance, much like David (‘nuff said, I don't want to spoil this for you). If David "living the dream" is what the average Joe out there hopes to achieve, then seeing him lose it all after that crash should help you put things in perspective. This is more than a mere film, from the very first frame to the very last. It is an experience. It is what I feel very few movies, or any at all, achieve, and that is to motivate you to want to somehow change your life, somehow make it better. My saying this may seem a little corny to you, but make no mistake that what I write is exactly how I felt.

I just want to briefly talk about the actors in this film, and the director. Everyone did there job right. The message they carried across to me is one that we may each see differently, and they leave it all up to us to figure that out. Performances by Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, and Jason Lee, are some of the best in each of their respective careers. Cameron Crowe manages to surprise me as I am accustomed to his dramatic-comedies (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Say Anything), but proves here that he can tell a story no matter how large in scope and emotion. In my opinion this is his crowning achievement, one that I fear will be over looked by many.

"My hearts going boom boom boom"!! The soundtrack for the film which plays throughout really gave the scenes an extra boost. All of those songs are very personal tracks, playing over a very personal story. They are all about lives changing, thoughts changing, or at least that is how I interpreted it. Take for example "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley, or "Everything in its Right Place" by Radiohead, or even "Salisbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel, they are all, as I have heard from friends who know these artists far better than me, about turning points in there respective lives. The film plays on that, to the point where you are completely lost and find yourself reflecting on David's life as though it were your own. By the end of the film you find him questioning everything leading to the discovery of what he really wants.

That's about as far as I'm willing to go with an explanation. You really need to see this for yourself. Do not watch it to try and figure out the ending, or try to figure out who did what and why, because I guarantee that you will not enjoy it. What you must do, and of course this is only my opinion, is just sit down and watch the screen. Let the story unfold. When it's over you will see what I mean, but what that feeling you have at the end is, and how long it lasts, all depends on you. This film will be what you want it to be. Perhaps, so can you.

Click here to comment on this review or post your own thoughts.

Gino Pagliuca


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