reunites director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire
) with the swoonsome Tom Cruise; adds another sexy Cruz (Penélope) and Cameron Diaz for good measure; and delivers a wildly entertaining, bizarre venture into erotic science fiction. Adapted almost exactly from Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar's 1997 romantic thriller Open Your Eyes
, the film follows David Aames (Cruise) as he falls from his graceful Manhattan perch of inordinate wealth, good looks and new-found love with Sofia (Cruz) because of severe facial disfigurement resulting from a car accident caused by a suicidal ex-lover (Diaz). Reduced to wearing a latex mask and spurned by his friends, what at first promises to be a conventional allegory of redemption via true love is turned on its head as Cruise's character only wins back his princess after a miracle of plastic surgery restores his former beauty. A series of plot twists follow, as waking life, technological advances and nightmares merge to dizzying effect, leaving David face to face with his own mortality. Despite a final conceit to some vague morality, the appeal of the film is the wonderfully callous message conveyed by the whole--money and physical beauty equal happiness and an unabashed vanity perfectly embodied by Cruise and Cruz. --Fionn Meade
On the DVD: Vanilla Sky's anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is practically flawless with no visible pixilation, showing off John Toll's excellent cinematography. The audio is also exemplary, particularly with music tracks such as Radiohead's "Everything in Its Right Place". Cameron Crowe's commentary track is excellent and the other extra's consist of a couple of trailers, a stills gallery and an interview with Paul McCartney from Entertainment Tonight in regards to his Golden Globe-nominated song "Vanilla Sky". Two featurettes are included. In the first Crowe follows the surreal theme of the film. The second, "Prelude to a Dream", a "making-of" documentary, is conspicuous for it's lack of interviews or any real material about the making of the film. --Kristen Bowditch
David Aames (Tom Cruise) is a vain middle-aged playboy who seems to have it all - he's inherited a multi-million dollar publishing firm from his father and his good looks and charm attract women to him like moths to a lightbulb. Though sleeping occasionally with his friend Julie (Cameron Diaz), when introduced to Sofia (Penelope Cruz) by a mutual friend suddenly David is touched by the possibility of real love. Excited by the meeting they arrange to meet again, but when Julie discovers the betrayal obsession rears its ugly head, and she decides to drive herself and David off a cliff. She dies and he survives but his face is hideously scarred by the accident. Despite his emotional and physical damage David and Sofia begin a relationship. But troubled by visions of Julie, David decides to kill her, smothering her with a pillow, but in reality he has killed Sofia. Accused of murder, he tries to piece together the truth to psychiatrist McCabe (Kurt Russell), only to discover that he has unwittingly become a client of the Life Extension Corporation and not all is as it seems...