Full disclosure, I have a goal to see every single one of Tom Cruise’s films. I’ve now watched all but three of them (I’m sure you’ll get the update when that changes). The latest film I watched was Vanilla Sky.
Recently I had watched a number of Cameron Crowe movies. After watching films like Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous; I was hoping Vanilla Sky would be an enjoyable ride despite the mixed reviews it received. It didn’t live up to the those expectations. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but it wasn’t great.
The film follows a man that was born into a wealthy home and inherited a magazine publication from his father. He blows off his responsibilities and tries to live a life seeking only pleasure. This all changes when he meets the perfect girl, but a jealous ex won’t let him go so easily.
A large portion of the film is dedicated to showing you his loss of grip on reality as you never know when he is dreaming or awake. This made the film interesting because we delve into his psyche as he deals with love, rejection, and a disfigurement.
All these add up to establish an interesting character piece with twists and turns and a dabbling in philosophy. Once I’d finished the film, I thought the ideas and story were interesting. The back and forth between reality and dreams made it intriguing and added an element of mystery.
The main problem is that many of the scenes drag on with no apparent goal or purpose, or many of the scenes establish some theme or character growth but then keep going on and on. I feel the film would have benefitted from a tighter edit. At times the film just feels as superficial as its lead.
My favourites from the film: Despite the lack of a firm storylineand the slow pacing, I still enjoyed the way Cameron Crowe handles his characters and their interactions. I enjoyed seeing MichealShannon’s small part as a police officer. I thought it was neat to see Tom Cruise spend a good portion of the film in a mask and prosthetics. Tom Cruise and Kurt russell’s scenes together were probably the highlights of the film.
My less enjoyed parts of the film: The seemingly lack of direction for portions of the film. It’s heavy-handed approach to most of its themes. Cameron Diaz’s part as the psycho ex was awkward. I think the movie would have benefitted from a more concrete and straightforward plot to keep the viewer going till the main reveal takes place.
My recommendation: It’s a good film if you have just over two hours to spend on a visually interesting, melodrama and just want to sit back for the ride. If not, similar but stronger films that deal with the same types of things would include; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind if you want a RomCom, Inception or The Matrix if you want a sci fi action film, or Jerry Maguire if you need your Tom Cruise/Cameron Crowe fix.