Vanilla Sky (2001)


Original Title : Vanilla Sky
Director : Cameron Crowe
Writer : Alejandro Amenábar
Mateo Gil
Cameron Crowe
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Bill Block , Fernando Bovaira , Danny Bramson , Cameron Crowe , Tom Cruise , Michael Doven , Donald J. Lee Jr. , Scott M. Martin , Jonathan Sanger , Patrick Wachsberger , Paula Wagner
Music : Afrika Bambaataa
Bob Dylan
Peter Gabriel
Paul McCartney
Sinéad O'Connor
Michael Stipe
Nancy Wilson
Jeff Buckley
Thom Yorke
Photography : John Toll
Distributor : Paramount Pictures [us]
MPAA Rating : Rated R for sexuality and strong language.
IMDB ID : 0259711
Official site :
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poster for "Vanilla Sky" by Cameron Crowe (2001)
Vanilla Sky (2001) - Cameron Crowe


Tom Cruise David Aames
Penélope Cruz Sofia Serrano
Penélope Cruz Sofia Serrano


During the week he turns 33, NYC magazine publisher David Aames, a playboy who has strange dreams, spends a night of passion with Julie, "a friend he sometimes sleeps with," and a night with Sofia, a witty, knowing dancer with a Spanish accent - a night with intimations of love. David is charming, rich (his mother's Monet, "Vanilla Sky" is in his bedroom), and feckless: he inherited the magazines and his minority partners want him out. Jump ahead: he's in jail, wearing a prosthetic mask, talking to a sympathetic psychologist to get at the truth behind a death. Who has died? How? And who's Ellie? Popping up often on TV is Benny, a dog who survived for months frozen in ice.


A lesson in excess –, not a patch on Abre les Ojos! David has everything his heart desires having inherited a huge publishing company from his father at a young age.With women he trades on his easy charm and good looks –, stringing as many along as possible without commitment, the build up being as good as the sex that comes with conquest.At a party he avoids one lover, Julie, by striking up a conversation with Sophia –, going to her home and spending the whole night talking and laughing.The next morning he leaves her flat to find that Julie is waiting for him.He gets in her car but during a fight, she crashes –, killing her and badly disfiguring him.He struggles with his loss of beauty until a new surgery comes along that offers the chance of restoring his looks –, however it also messes with his mind to the extent that he appears to mix dreams and reality.David tells his story to McCabe during a physiological review that will set the basis for his plea during his impending murder trial. To set out my stall –, I saw Abre Los Ojos before I saw Vanilla Sky.I say this because I imagine that most negative reviews come from those who have seen the original and most good reviews come from those who have not seen it at all.I don't intend to buck this trend. I can't criticize the story because at heart, it is a good story.It is a little complex and dark, but it's a compelling, disorientating story none the less.But we know this already –, we saw it in the original movie (which I gave a 9 out of 10!).So that Vanilla Sky has a good story at it's heart is maybe not quite so remarkable a feat.Crow monkeys with the story slightlyand alters the mood of the ending just enough to be irritating to those of us who didn't see any flaws that needed fixing –, but this is a remake not a copy and that's his right. However he does tend to copy the original scene for scene –, in some cases shot for shot, again that's not a big problem for me as he simple seems to be saying that he can't improve on what has gone before and hence won't even try.No –, my main problem is with the adding of stuff.Vanilla Sky runs about 20/30 minutes longer than the original and it's in this padding that I had a problem.The film knows that an American audience is not used to thinking things out for itself –, hence we have constant references to Benny the dog etc, almost as if we're not smart enough to make the connections ourselves.The padding doesn't add anything of value –, it extends scenes needlessly and adds baggage to scenes that were fine in the first place.The perfect example being the nightmare scene at the start with an empty Manhattan –, Crow fills this with quickly cut visuals like a pop video, taking away from the tension of the scene. In the reviews for this all anyone seemed to be shouting about was what an awesome soundtrack Crow had put together and, yes, it is made up of a diverse range of very good songs –, however a soundtrack is not just about making a CD that's going to sell, it needs to work in the movie.Here –, it doesn't work at all.Almost all the music seems out of place –, as if someone in the cinema had just turned on their stereo.The scene where David discovers what's really going on was sickeningly tense in the original –, here it is smothered by the Beach Boy's `Good Vibrations', does anyone think this scene works?That's one example but there are plenty of others where the music destroys any sense of mood and just seems out of place. The mood is another problem –, the original was very dark.Here the mood is quite upbeat, very Hollywood.The soundtrack doesn't help but it's made worse by the performances.When Noriega played David/Cesar, he wasn't a totally likeable character –, unloving, vain and with a smarmy charm –, after the accident he was pathetic and desperate.Cruise comes across like a movie star rather than a person –, he seems to want to flash his well built chest and beautiful smile in every scene, this stops us noticing his failings as a person because his character seems to stop at the smile.After the accident Cruise doesn't want to become pathetic or desperate –, instead he clowns in a half pathetic way but never lets his character be pushed to the very edge for any length of time –, this stops us caring about him, he just doesn't seem a real person.The other Cruz is ok, but never as good as in the original.Here the overall upbeat mood of the film seems to have gotten to her and she smiles her way through it –, we barely see her trapped by the disfigured David who looks to her for support and her happy performance at the end totally changes the mood.I love Jason Lee but he just seems out of place here but he is the only one of the leads who actually manages to convince when the mood goes from comedy to anger and resentment.Kurt Russell is good but in the original the Doctor had a huge emotional punch at the end –, here Russell doesn't do well with this scene and makes his role a damp squid. I could go on for days, but overall the main problem with this is that Crow can't improve on the original.All he can do is add material that pads out the story unnecessarily.Vanilla Sky is American excess –, a remake of a film that didn't need anything added to it. 4 out of 10.
poster for "Vanilla Sky"
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Vanilla Sky (2001) - Cameron Crowe
poster for "Vanilla Sky"
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Vanilla Sky (2001) - Cameron Crowe
poster for "Vanilla Sky"
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Vanilla Sky (2001) - Cameron Crowe