Vanilla Sky (2001)

Mixed feelings regarding this one. I had been postponing and postponing watching Vanilla Sky for ages, for no real perceptible reason in retrospect, and having now seen it, it feels even more perplexing why I kept dodging it. Maybe some infantile mainstream aversion hang up from my teens, who knows. In any case I just  never had much interest in seeing the movie till now, but I finally cracked because I wanted to watch something with Kurt Russell in it and you can only watch Big Trouble in Little China so many times before you start needing some variation in your Russell pallet. Not that this was particularly Kurt heavy flick, but it did its job in offering something slightly different.

Unfortunately this wasn’t completely smooth sailing, as around fifteen, twenty minutes into the movie, I remembered the ending twist I had heard or read from somewhere, and spoiled myself pretty badly. And of course I spent the rest of the movie wondering if I was remembering the twist right and just how it all fit to the story, distracting my immersion enough to make the viewing a bit of a chore rather than relaxing. Not that it really ruined the movie for me, but it at least took some minor enjoyment out of the viewing pleasure. Ultimately I wasn’t that impressed with the story, irregardless of the twist ending, but to what degree the spoiled ending had impact on my overall experience is hard to tell. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s nothing to write home about either. That said, I could very well check out the original Spanish version of the movie some time. The story certainly has legs to it and a slightly different version could very well be more of my cup of tea.

A thought just popped in my head: from here on forward, I’m just going to assume the mask Cruise wears for most of the “now” portion of the movie is a reference to Eyes Without a Face simply because it amuses me to assume so and make such a connection. I spent a considerable amount of the running time speculating about the symbolism relating to the mask and how it reflected to Cruise’s behavior and thematic existence but to be honest, I couldn’t make any type of a case for it one way or another. Probably because I started watching the movie after midnight, so mental fatigue inevitably kicked in at a certain point and nothing productive was ever going to come from a sleepy brain trying to maintain focus and consciousness while simultaneously attempting to follow the plot and form theories about the subtext.

What else? Oh, yes. It was weird seeing Cameron Diaz from over ten years ago when she was still cute and not as (badly? [One’s mileage may vary]) middle aged as she is now. I usually don’t much care for her acting, but you know what, she actually was pretty decent here as a schizo-ish stalker who drives a car off a bridge with Tom Cruise on board. Yeesh. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned indeed. I’m two minds about Jason Lee’s involvement. Well cast for his role, certainly, yet I kept imaging him in his more iconic role, Earl, from My Name Is Earl, which as you might guess, made it kinda hard to take Lee’s character in the movie seriously. Tom Cruise did an okay performance as usual and Penelope Cruz was cute.

So, to summarize, it’s a decent watch, but I have hunch the original movie will surpass this one. But who knows, maybe it’s actually just a cool concept that was an awful movie and the American remake just made it passably mediocre. We’ll have to see.

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