After a car accident, nothing in the life of New York publisher David is the same as before. The puzzling game of confusion is our film tip of the day.
Am I dead? Did I just dream all of this? Or experienced drunk? The young New York publisher David (Tom Cruise) faces this day after day. He has been haunted by nightmarish déjà vu experiences ever since his tragic car accident, which completely disfigured the womanizer’s once spoiled for success and brought everything out of control. He struggles (in many flashbacks) to gain clarity about what happened before his accident.
But only one thing is certain: the beautiful Spaniard Sophia (Penelope Cruz), whom he stole from his best friend, is his great love. Because of Sophia, he was lured into the car by his jealous ex-flame Julie (incredibly sexy and crazy: Cameron Diaz). Because of her, the rampage ended with a fall over a bridge. And the rest? A scarred face and a maze of puzzles: Why does David suddenly have to answer questions from a psychiatrist in prison? He, a murderer? Why is – visualized by an irritating exchange of women’s faces in yellowed youth photos – Sophia sometimes Julie and Julie Sophia?
“Vanilla Sky” reconstructs the incomprehensible
Similar to David Lynch, with director Cameron Crowe the characters not only swap their physical shells, but use the latest technology to walk between the future, past, present and utopia – without knowing which level they land on. Visually, it only costs a finger touch on a touch-screen computer for David to find himself in the middle of a promotional video for a rebirth institute. This strangely aseptic advertising aesthetic enhances the film’s enigmatic, threatening atmosphere.
Tom Cruise, also co-producer, showed the courage not to show himself as an eternal beautiful. In the adaptation of Amenàbar’s “Abre los Ojos” (1997) he brilliantly conveys the emptiness and deep confusion that often lingers on an accident victim for a long time. The thriller is consequently designed as an attempt to reconstruct what is actually incomprehensible. He lives from the moods and tingling feelings that Cruise and Cruz really believe. Until the end, the film remains emotionally intense on various levels of reality, reinforced by SciFi, mystery and a large portion of romance. Even if the curtain has come down in the cinema, this piece of cinema doesn’t let you go. kd
“Vanilla Sky” runs at 23.35 on ZDF Neo.
March 20, 2021 // Matthias Jordan