'Vanilla Sky' SPOILER Review: A Good Film With A Bad Ending
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Vanilla Sky is a film starring Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz. The film is directed by Cameron Crowe, who worked with Cruise on Jerry Maguire. Cruise stars as David Aames, a man who seems to have it all. He owns a publishing company, has good friends, and has women fawning over him. From the outside, he seems to have a great life. His life starts to change when he meets the beautiful Sofia. David becomes immediately infatuated with her and knows this is the girl for him.
This doesn't sit well with the overbearing Julie. David and Julie have been sleeping together but only as friends with benefits. Julie starts to fall in love with him as David's feelings increase for Sofia. This enrages Julie as she commits suicide and attempts to murder David by driving off a bridge. David survives the incident but leaves his face horribly disfigured.
In the backdrop of this situation, David is in prison telling his story to a psychologist named McCabe. David is accused of murdering someone. As David is telling the story, he wears a creepy mask covering his face. At this point of the film, I was fully intrigued. Watching David sent into madness from the accident was interesting to say the least. I was also caught up in Cruise's performance in the mask. You couldn't see his face but you can hear in his voice and what he was saying how the accident affected David and his image of himself.
The film cuts in and out from reality to dream multiple times. It can get confusing if you're not paying attention. This starts in the beginning of the film where David dreams he is the only person in New York City. Him running though an empty Times Square was eerie but cool at the same time. This a continuous theme throughout the film. The dream sequences were intriguing and after a while were easy to tell whether it was a dream or not.
David meets with Sofia after the accident and Sofia seems to still be in love with him. This changes when David wears his mask to a nightclub with Sofia and his best friend Brian. Sofia asked Brian to come with her on the date. David freaks Sofia and Brian out with his mask and gets too drunk which results in him passing out on the sidewalk. The next day Sofia wakes up David and takes him home. They have a blossoming relationship. David even gets his face fixed by doctors. Everything seems to be going amazing.
This all changes when David starts imagining Sofia to be Julie. His dreams continue to haunt him. This part of the film gets a little confusing. Switching from Penélope Cruz to Cameron Diaz makes the audience feel like they're in David's head. Eventually through these interviews with McCabe, we find out David did in fact murder Sofia. David seeing Julie's face instead of Sofia's caused him to snap.
After this David is in a bar when a man approaches him. This man says that David has the power to control his reality, even the people in the bar. David seems skeptical and wants everyone in the bar to shut up. Everyone in the bar goes quiet and stares at David. David realizes the man wasn't lying. In the interview with McCabe, David remembers he has signed a contract with a company called Life Extension. Life Extension is a company that freezes bodies as soon as they die and brings them back to life. David and McCabe head to Life Extension to figure out what is really going on.
They meet with a representative named Rebecca. Rebecca tells David and McCabe the packages they offer at Life Extension. They see the lucid dream option and are intrigues. Rebecca tells them about the lucid dream option. The lucid dream option makes dreams feel like reality. David realizes he needs to talk to that same man in the bar. He finds that man in the tech support room, which is just an elevator. The elevator takes David and the man to the top in the room. The man tells David he is in the lucid dream state right now and none of this is real. The lucid dream option began after David fell asleep on the sidewalk. In reality, Sofia and David never saw each other again. David became depressed and kill himself with pills. But David signed a contract to bring him back to life, but years into the future. The man gives David two choices: to be in lucid dream or to be in reality. David makes the choice of being in reality.
Personally I didn't like this ending at all. Having the mystery of the whole film being just a dream was not fulfilling. I wish all of the events that took place in the film were reality. The film could have went in a different direction of a man falling into madness because of his accident and how it affected him and the ones he loved. But we see an ending that reveals to the viewer that the second half of the film didn't matter. Now David gets to live his life in the future with a new hope.
Even though I didn't like the ending, Vanilla Sky is a good film. Tom Cruise gives one of his best performances. The story is intriguing and has you hanging on to every second. It's a film that makes you think about your own life in many ways. It teaches us that at any moment we can change our lives for the better. "Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around."
What did you think of Vanilla Sky? Leave it in the comments below.