Vanilla Sky (2001)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 2001.  , , , , , .  Screenplay by Cameron Crowe, based on the film Abre Los Ojos by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Useless remake of Alejandro Amenabar’s terrifying Spanish thriller Open Your Eyes now has  as a rich and handsome young man whose face is disfigured after a jealous woman () with whom he casually trysts from time to time crashes her car and kills herself with him in it. His new physical and emotional state threatens his burgeoning relationship with a beautiful dancer (, who played the same role in the original version) and long-standing relationship with his best friend (). Restorative plastic surgery soon brings him back to his old self and cures his problems with his two friends, but soon a problem enters the picture: Diaz is still hanging around haunting him. Did she fake her own death, or is he just imagining things? Soon things go places you will never expect them to, with every corner revealing a new surprise twist. Mostly this film fails because director Cameron Crowe has carbon-copied the entire plot from Amenabar’s original scene by scene, but has added uselessly long character-dialogue scenes (not to mention an overly lengthened opening) that don’t accomplish anything beyond the emotional impact that the first version featured, and actually dull the sharpened twists that made the original version so viscerally exciting. Viewers who have never seen Open Your Eyes will enjoy this one more because its clever concept will seem fresh, but those who know that the credit for everything smart and original actually belongs elsewhere will be bored by the slower pace and Cruise’s incredibly flat and boring performance (a disappointment considering Crowe was the one who directed his finest work in  Jerry Maguire). Improvements in this version include Cruz in a better role than the original featured, Diaz doing a superb job of playing a deliciously demented woman, and a welcome cameo by the fabulous who does more with one scene than some actors do with an entire film. Other than that, and Nancy Wilson’s excellent score, the film is a giant bore.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Original Song (“Vanilla Sky”)

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Supporting Actress (Cameron Diaz); Best Original Song (“Vanilla Sky”)

Screen Actors Guild Award NominationBest Supporting Actress (Cameron Diaz)

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