Tom Cruise stars in Vanilla Sky as David Aames, a millionaire playboy who has inherited a magazine empire from the passing of his parents. David basically has everything, including his usual fling Julie (Cameron Diaz) who is a carefree stick of sexual dynamite. One night he ventures out to a party with his best friend Brian (Jason Lee) and he meets a beautiful and endearing woman Sophia (Penelope Cruz). After a night of talking and laughter, David is completely smitten with Sophia. Unfortunately Julie catches wind of this and drives a car off a bridge with David in it.
Upon waking up from a coma, David’s face is completely mangled which is a huge blow to his monumental ego. As he copes with the stresses of his injuries, he wears a mask to hide his face and continues to pursue Sophia. David begins to develop deep paranoia over his board of directors whom he fears is trying to hijack the company and also experiences nightmarish visions and hallucinations. Eventually David ends up in an asylum and he is charged with murdering Sophia, whom he thought was Julie during a psychotic episode.
As David speaks with his lawyer (Kurt Russell) he begins to work through his visions and paranoia and finally come to grips with what has actually happened in his life.
I’ve always heard this film was “the most confusing ever” or that it had an incredibly warped ending. Instead, I thought everything was tied up nice and neatly by the end-but there is definitely some room left to theorize.
Stylistically, New York City has rarely looked so ethereal and dreamy on film and the soundtrack is full of such impeccably timed songs from Radiohead, Spiritualized, the Rolling Stones, and many more. Tom Cruise can be a divisive force in a film, but Vanilla Sky ranks among my favorites of his performances along with Magnolia, Top Gun and Rain Man.
Mindbending, surreal, and complete with an ending to make you thing long and hard, Vanilla Sky is well worth your time. 4 stars out of 5.