There are three things that most people will be put off by when thinking of watching this film: one is Tom Cruise, the other is the Rotten Tomatoes rating and the third is that it is a Hollywood remake. The first two I’ll never understand, Cruise is a great actor and Rotten Tomatoes is a pile of poo, but the remake factor I agree raises alarm bells. Yet Vanilla Sky is a rare thing, it is a film that defies genre boundaries and expectations to become one of the best sci-fi, comedy, horror, thriller, romances of recent times.
To give much in the way of plot would in my opinion be detrimental to the films strongest point, which is at no point ever do you know where it is going – unless you have seen the original which I haven’t. Imagine Inception but actually mind boggling, Memento, but instead of lurching forward and backwards in time, leaping tonally across great chasms of emotion, often genuinely frightening and heart-breaking within a few moments of each other.
Then there are the performances: people who don’t like Tom Cruise, or idiots as I like to call them can be firmly put in their place as he is absolutely mesmerising, he plays his character with essences of Patrick Bateman at times and the complete opposite at others, and his chemistry with Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz is wonderful, something which I think he does have a problem with in some of his other films. Yet here his relationship with Cruz is as sweet and touching as his relationship with Diaz is explosive and tense. It’s these relationships that make the film easier to stick with as it’s plot becomes ever more alienating. Yet it is Diaz who steals the show delivering her best performance yet as a woman broken hearted and obsessed with Cruise’s character, she’s unhinged, funny and every time she appears, her electrifying presence will eat at the screen of whatever you decide to watch it on. Also for Big Bang Theory and Boardwalk Empire fans watch out for appearances by Johnny Galecki and Michael Shannon.
Vanilla Sky is a film that, if you let it, will get under your skin and it is testament to director Cameron Crowe’s talent that it gets under there in every way it possibly can. I genuinely think this film is one of the most underrated films ever and I beg you if you are not a Tom Cruise fan or are a disciple of the Rotten Tomatoes generation, to put aside these differences and give this great film a chance.