Vanilla Sky
directed by Cameron Crowe
(Paramount, 2001)

I enjoyed this movie immensely. Tom Cruise proves himself to be a gifted actor, the angelic Penelope Cruz is delightful, Cameron Diaz is great, even Kurt Russell shines in his role.

So many people complain about Hollywood, deriding the fact that today's movies are unoriginal, yet many folks don't seem to appreciate a truly "different" movie when it comes along. I know, this is a remake of the Spanish Obre las Ojos, yet it does represent something unique among recent American releases. I can also understand why some people may be confused about the movie as the story progresses, but I found it quite understandable by the end.

The issues this movie addresses are "deep," but they get to the heart of life and existence for the individual soul. Reality, dreams, desires, disappointments -- these are the determiners of life itself, and any movie that can really make you think about your own life and existence in a serious manner wins my highest praises. I won't even talk about the plot of this movie here -- this movie has to be experienced; it cannot be explained. Don't worry about where the movie is going; just enjoy the ride. I would urge the viewer to devote a full 130 minutes to watching it; if you pause it to talk to your neighbor or mess around in the kitchen, you run the risk of losing comprehension and rob yourself of the spectacular aura this movie wraps around you.

This strikes me as rather a bold career move for Cruise, especially given the fact that his character has his face disfigured in an accident. Of course, there could be no better way for him to define himself as a great actor. I love Cruz -- her beauty is matched by a mesmerizing air of mystery that plays incredibly well in this particular motion picture.

As for the DVD's special features, they are OK but not exceptional. There is a seven-minute mini-feature about the making of the movie -- it doesn't really give any secrets away, but I would definitely watch it only after viewing the movie. Another mini-feature provides us with glimpses of the worldwide tour by Cruise, Cruz and director Cameron Crowe. The interview with Paul McCartney is short and sweet, and I must admit that I didn't realize that he had contributed the title song to the movie until I watched the interview.

Even if there were no extras, Vanilla Sky is definitely a movie worth owning. While I have only watched it once, the intricacies of the plot make this a prime candidate for the mantle of rewatchability. If you approach this movie with an open mind and let the story absorb you into its unique world, I do not see how you can walk away disappointed.

- Rambles
written by Daniel Jolley
published 9 July 2005

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