Vanilla Sky (DVD)

Starring Cameron Diaz et al

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R 37

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Number of Discs
TV System
South Africa
  1. 2
Running Time
  1. Cameron Crowe
Vanilla Sky (DVD)
  1. Cameron Diaz
  2. Penelope Cruz
  3. Tom Cruise
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For most of Vanilla Sky, you will probably be thinking wtf is going on. But don't despair, or walk out of the cinema to answer your cellphone, all is revealed at the end of the movie. One must take one's hat of for Tom Cruise who collaborated with Cameron Crowe to make what is essentially a experimental movie, especially of if you compare it to most of the drivel coming out of Hollywood. Vanilla Sky is based on the Spanish film OPEN YOUR EYES, a phrase which is repeated often in the movie.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot besides the basic details. Tom Cruise plays a rich playboy, who seems to have it all. Everything that is but true love. Then one day he meets the girl of his dreams, Sofia Serrano (Penélope Cruz), and nothing is quite the same again. Vanilla Sky moves forward and back in time with no seeming rhyme or reason. What is real and what is a dream? Or is something else happening? A dream within a dream?

I enjoyed the movie. It is well made and has some great songs in it, who also serve the extra purpose of providing clues as to what is happening in the movie.

Vanilla Sky will not appeal to the broad spectrum of movie goers, who prefer their movies served up in a more straight forward fashion. Still for the rest Vanilla Sky raises some interesting questions. 8 /10

A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

Is the world ready for a horribly disfigured Tom Cruise? Well, if Gwyneth Paltrow's fans accepted her in a 300-pound fat suit in SHALLOW HAL, then Cruise with a terribly mangled face shouldn't be that much of a problem. VANILLA SKY's convoluted script and meandering direction, both by Cameron Crowe (JERRY MAGUIRE and ALMOST FAMOUS), are where the troubles lie. A murky thriller, the movie is based on the Spanish film OPEN YOUR EYES, which we are constantly reminded of by Sofia Serrano (Penélope Cruz), whose favorite phrase is "open your eyes." Cruz starred in the original film as well.

In a story in which dreams and reality are constantly intermixed, fabulously wealthy David Aames (Tom Cruise) wakes to a New York City day in which the whole town has decided to sleep in. It's nine o'clock in the morning, and no one's there, not even in perpetually populated Times Square. This time it's easy to guess that it's a dream, most other times aren't. (Imagine the difficulties of filming this scene in which there isn't anyone stirring, not even a mouse. It must have been a Herculean logistical effort.)

David, who's fighting a raging battle against the "Seven Dwarfs," his board of directors, inherited all of his money from his media baron father. His father's best selling book starts out: "The answer to ninety-nine out of one hundred questions in the world is 'money.'"

David's trophy girlfriend, who really isn't a girlfriend at all but a great sex buddy, is a beautiful blonde named Julie, who is played in an Oscar worthy supporting role by Cameron Diaz. Although David thinks their strictly sexual relationship is hunky-dory, Julie wants something more.

Another delightful supporting performance is given by the ever reliable Jason Lee as David's best bud, Brian Shelby. His sharp wit is best seen in a near death event that they survive without a scratch. "We were almost dead there, and you know what happened? Your life flashed in front of me," Brian tells David.

One day, into David's life comes Sofia, whom Julie ridicules by calling her a "moth" and who David believes is the "last guileless girl in New York." Penélope Cruz proves again, as she did in CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN and a half dozen other recent films, that she is a wonderfully sweet woman with a great smile who just can't act.

After this setup, the labyrinthine plot goes on and on. It's the sort of movie that, if you watch it on video, will probably have you leaving to do housework while asking your spouse to give you a call when something finally happens.

The great science fiction ending, which pulls a wildly improbable explanation almost out of thin air, and Diaz's terrific performance almost make the movie worth it's long running time. Someone should buy Crowe a pair of scissors. I'd love to see a much shorter director's cut.

VANILLA SKY runs 2:20. It is rated R for "sexuality and strong language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Vanilla Sky fits into that wonderful catagory of film that causes the viewer to stop and think for a moment. All at once it's tender and crude. Without doubt this is Cruises biggest leap away from his pretty boy image, and more in the vein of Magnolia. The support he gets from his fellow actors is quite amazing and without doubt the who film runs at full pace, each time twisting turning until one is left with this wonderful sense of completion and to a certain degree a need to know more.

I think this film is one of those that you need to have in your DVD collection - not becuase it's got Cruise or Salma or Gwen, but because it's a feature film that isn't trying to make money. I know that sounds odd, but it's a movie, through and through. There are no cheap gags, no silly Hollywood explainations. Pure and simple this is how films should be made.

Region details

DVD Region 2

Region 2 - Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories.

R 37

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