The young head of a multi-million dollar publishing empire is almost killed by a suicidal stalker and during the process of putting his life back together, it seems to become a strange blurring of fact and fiction.
The dreams vs reality format draws inevitable comparisons with the likes of Total Recall and Inception and the moment the breezy romance gives way to the alternate scenario of a masked Cruise awaiting trial for murder the story becomes very intriguing. He actually gives a decent lead performance, Jason Lee does his usual quirky best friend schtick and Penelope Cruz is appealing as the romantic interest. But it is Kurt Russell who truly makes the movie and all of the scenes that feature him are easily the best in the film. As is always the case with this kind of hokey Twilight Zone inspired story, the explanation for it all is far less interesting than the journey and the fact that Tom Cruise’s character is pretty much just a charming but vain, selfish asshole who learns no moral lesson makes the ending a little unsatisfactory.
As with all Cameron Crowe’s films, it does seem a case of style over substance but Vanilla Sky is pretty entertaining while it lasts and made me want to look up Abre Los Ojos, the Spanish film upon which it was based.