Column

Moral Impressionism

Vanilla Sky
Produced by Cruise-Wagner Productions
Directed by Cameron Crowe
Screenplay by Cameron Crowe, based on Abre Los Ojos
Released by Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures

In Vanilla Sky, director Cameron Crowe and producer/actor Tom Cruise have created an American version of Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar’s 1997 feature, Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes).  I have not seen the original, but I am told that Crowe has followed it quite closely, even asking Penélope Cruz to reprise her role—a decision at once dramatically apt and pleasingly decorative.

Crowe begins his film with a bravura set piece.  We watch David Aames (Tom Cruise), billionaire Manhattan man-boy, awake to the words, “Open your eyes.”  He rises and grooms himself in front of his bathroom mirror, studiously hunting down a single gray hair in his tousled locks and plucking it from his scalp.  Having rid himself of time’s offense, he slips into his Mustang and smugly drives down Broadway into Times Square, only to find the world’s gaudiest, busiest crossroads inexplicably vacant.  He grows disturbed, then panics.  Leaving his car in the middle of the avenue, he runs through the ghostly thoroughfare while animated images of barely clad women beckon to him from neon billboards.  It is an unnerving...

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