Vanilla Sky

Directed by Cameron Crowe
Starring: Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee.
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and strong language.

Review by Eugene Kopman <>
January 11. 2001

Vanilla Sky is a remake of sorts of the 1997 Spanish film Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes). Both films star Penélope Cruz in the same role, but now Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Jason Lee, Kurt Russell and director Cameron Crowe join her to make a powerful film about the human subconscious.

David Aames Jr. (Cruise) is convicted of a murder, and it is the job of a psychiatrist, Dr. Curtis McCabe (Russell), to find out why he did it and why is he saying that there was no murder. In a series of flashbacks, David describes his life.

David is a wealthy playboy who is the owner of the biggest publishing house in New York. He has everything, good looks, a lot of money, a huge Manhattan apartment and a friend who is willing to sleep with him at any given time, Julie Gianni (Diaz, looking better then ever). He has everything but true love.

At his latest party, his best friend, Brian Shelby (Lee) brings an extra guest, Sofia Serrano (Cruz). David immediately feels something toward her that he has never felt before. Julie is against David's feelings toward Sofia because she is in love with him. After a night of talking to Sofia at her apartment, Julie asks David to go for a ride, and in her fit of love-stricken rage she drives the car off a bridge. David miraculously survives but needs his face and arm reconstructed, and he starts wearing a prosthetic mask to hide his disfigured face.

I will not say more about this movie or I might ruin it. This is the weirdest movie of the year after Memento, which has you guessing until the end. Tom Cruise gives another great performance in a Cameron Crowe film; his first was in Jerry Maguire. He is perfect as a rich pretty boy who has nothing to lose and then as a man who lost everything. Cameron Diaz is fantastic as a sexy seductress, Jason Lee plays the role he was born to play, a best friend, and Kurt Russell is finally is cast in a good role. Penélope Cruz, on the other hand, is the person who made this movie 3˝ stars. This is the second time she is playing this role; you'd think she'd do a good job. I can't say she was terrible, but I didn't think she lived up to the rest of the cast.

Cameron Crowe's direction is the main thing that keeps this film interesting. First off, he is the only man in history to ever close down Times Square. Second, his shots are so mesmerizing you don't want to look away. With a very unpredictable and shocking ending, Vanilla Sky is a roller coaster ride that is a strong contender for my top ten films of the year.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Vanilla Sky (2001)

Here's some merchandise for sale at
Vanilla Sky: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc Home
Review Archive
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings

Review © 2002 Eugene Kopman
Page Layout © 1999-2000 Matt Heffernan