Many films, in which Tom Cruise starred, later turned out to be a kind of classics in their respective genres. Either the actor is so lucky with the selection of roles, or he himself makes a significant contribution to the greatness of the pictures in which he is filmed. However, “Vanilla Sky” is an indisputable classic, even if someone doesn’t like this film.
The painting of 2001 looks surprisingly harmonious in modern conditions: it is not outdated either technically, or in terms of the originality of plot twists, or in the context of the freshness of the concept. And this kind of duality of the story, when the film is either about the power of love, or about the development of the character of the main character, also does not look hackneyed even at the end of the 2010s. Of course, some “tricks” from “Vanilla Sky” have already appeared many times in other film projects, but the whole picture as a whole still gives the impression of something original and unique.
David Ames and his inner demons
The main character of this film can generally be attributed to the category of those movie heroes who are now enjoying the greatest popularity. He is not evil or kind, not frankly repulsive, and certainly not a saint. Something between the two extremes: funny in his self-confidence, quite respectable in his high position in society, slightly touching in his desire to spend his life in the wrong places and with the wrong people.
In other words, it is attractive just enough not to be like the title of the movie and not become vanilla, and unpleasant just enough not to become repulsive. The perfect mixture to make us closely follow his fate and sincerely worry about him.
Julie Giani, head over heels in love with him, for David Ames is just “a friend with whom he sometimes sleeps.” Birthday is a reason to invite more friends and unfamiliar people and throw a party, feeling like its king. Competitors eager to tear a successful guy to pieces are nothing more than buffoons, whose intrigues and intrigues he is absolutely not afraid of. Everything is ambiguous only about Sofia.
Having met this girl, David said that five minutes ago he had stopped leading an idle lifestyle. “The only night that beckoned with the promise of great love” – this is how this meeting was later described by the technical support agent “Life Extension”. The chemistry between the characters is created quite believable: the audience also seems to be covered by this veil of invisible connection, instantly formed between two so dissimilar, but so suitable for each other people.
Real life without vanilla sky
If you have not fully figured out which of the events of the film took place in reality, and which – in a dream (or have already forgotten it), then we will briefly restore the course of events.
So, in the morning after meeting with Sophia, David Ames had the imprudence to get into the car with Julie Giani, who threw a tantrum at him and really caused a car accident. She herself died as a result of the accident, and David received serious injuries (including his face crippled). It is important that when the unrequited love Julianne, shortly before the tragedy, tried to explain to Ames why she was so upset, he was genuinely perplexed: the feelings of other people were unimportant and incomprehensible to him at the same time.
Some time after being discharged from the hospital, David really found Sofia, really went with her to a nightclub, and at the end of the evening fell asleep right on the asphalt. This was their last meeting.
After her, the guy returned to his work, having defended the right to manage the company, despite the intrigues of the “seven dwarfs” – opposition-minded members of the board. In this he was helped a lot by Thomas Tip, on whom, as it turned out, David could rely without any doubts and suspicions. Then, for several months, Ames barely entered the house, suffered from both loneliness and headaches, and accidentally stumbled upon an advertisement for “Life Extension” on the Internet. Deciding that this was a good idea, he signed a contract according to which his body after death had to be frozen, so that he would later be revived in a fairly distant future. And then “someone died” – it was David himself, swallowing pills.
A dreamlike dream turned into a nightmare
All other events that took place during the film, with the exception of the above, are just Ames’s dream. Vanilla sky from the picture, the image of a couple in love from the cover of a music album, a credible psychologist, created in the likeness of the protagonist’s father in a film seen a long time ago. And, of course, Sofia, who is ready to be there, to love and be loved.
All the failures in the system, due to which this sweet dream gradually began to turn into something alarming and frightening, were generated exclusively by the subconscious of David. He should not have remembered anything from the moment when the “slumber” began: from the moment he fell asleep on the asphalt in a drunken stupor. But you can’t just erase a person’s memory and program him for certain thoughts. Somewhere out there, in the background, beyond the vanilla horizon, there are memories of a lonely awakening all on the same asphalt, of Sophia who has gone forever from his life, and, finally, of his own death. More precisely, about someone’s death, without specifics.
Sophia’s transformation into Julianne, her murder, accusations against Ames, attempts by a psychologist to help him restore the real picture of events – all this is generated by those memories and disturbing thoughts. And all this, frankly, is quite logical: it cannot be said that after a thoughtful viewing of the picture, you may have some unresolved questions regarding the plot.
“In the next life when we become cats”
Uncertainty is always remembered deeper, more multifaceted and more distinct than something completed and explained. David and Sophia only saw a couple of times. A spark slipped between them, but neither we nor they themselves know if this spark could have flared up into something more. It seems that they could be forever happy together, but in reality they knew practically nothing about each other.
Perhaps this is why the story seems so moving. This is a kind of balancing on the brink: half-hints, obscure signs, theories and assumptions. That attractive cloud of incompletely conscious feelings, from which real happiness can subsequently grow. An endless period of blind love, not replaced by the next stages in the development of any human relationship: both for the characters and for the audience. And what Sophia really was, and what their love might look like in the real world – we will not know until the next life.
The fear of heights, which subsequently determines the choice of a “ritual” for getting out of slumber, is just a formality and a beautiful picture against the backdrop of picturesque clouds. It could just as well be any other fear. And the mask that David wears is not too metaphorical here either: not much meaning is put into it, except for the real cover of physical imperfections. These stereotypical images are needed here just for formality, the main story lies outside of them.
Vanilla Sky is worth watching at least for self-education in the cinematic sense, even if you are not a big fan of such films. And if you liked it and “tightened it up” – then it will not hurt you to arrange a viewing of the film “Open your eyes” by the Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar, a remake of which is “Vanilla Sky”. By the way, the role of Sofia both in the original film and in the remake went to Penelope Cruz.