Vanilla Sky (2001)
I've always had somewhat of a problem with movies that base a lot of their existence on confusing its audience by including dream sequences that are camouflaged (or not) as reality (or "reality"). Is it a clever and ingenious move, or is it simply confusing, insipid and unconvincing? With Cameron Crowe's Vanilly Sky, you're left wondering this question, which basically means that there are some vigour to the story, but that it's not altogether compelling. Crowe's direction is that of a creative music video director. He does create some scenes and backdrops early on that are absolutely gripping. And the early drama that unfolds - digging into the highly interesting character of David Aames - is both forceful, significant and effective. Unfortunately, after developing a series of interesting character relations, Crowe can't quite maintain his movie's relevance once he delves into his mystery and starts toying with the fantastic. It's not so much the idea in itself as it is the way it is conceived that is the problem. In the end, there's way too much explaining that needs to be done, and way too much explaining that is done. We might actually have been better off left in total disarray.
That doesn't deprive the film of its assets, however. The performances are fine all over, with the film having its best moments depicting the friendship between Tom Cruise and Jason Lee. The latter's appearance helps keeping the film grounded numerous of times, just when you think it has gone off completely, Lee's earthy and charismatic persona lets us know were alright. Unfortunately, in the end, he too is demolished by Cruise whose character goes from exceptionally interesting to a total spoof over the course of the films two hours.