“Open your eyes…” – Sofia Serrano (Penelope Cruz)
Cameron Crowe’s 2001 film explores modern sci-fi in an extremely interesting film narrative about potentially having the ability to erase bad memories, events and even entire relationships. A prestigious expensive future Artificial Intelligence tech company creates a system for this but it’s in infancy stages. It also explores modern west superficiality of beauty, fame, success and life in New York through one lead male character David Aames (Tom Cruise) whose life changes after a car crash. I personally as a major cinema and film fanatic enjoy this kind of sub genre of science fiction the most. It delves into human memory and impact of different circumstances affecting the life span and course of individual people rather than spaceships, technology and aliens in the rather more literal focus.
Vanilla Sky (2001) is a remake of Alejandro Amenábar’s 1997 Spanish film Open Your Eyes. David Aames (Tom Cruise) is depicted as a wealthy New York city bachelor and heir to a huge prestigious publishing empire from books to magazines after his parent’s are deceased. He takes control but his playboy habits, sheltered upper class upbringing and handsome looks have distracted his career and personal growth into his mid 30’s. This is where the plot thickens and this story becomes more than a tale of glamorous city life about rich beautiful people but a cinema discussion on memory, humanity, pain, loss and morality in the modern western first world.
A lady who David has been casually seeing an actress played by Cameron Diaz becomes so emotionally hurt by David’s nonchalance attitude to her feelings towards him and feels taken advantage of. She tricks him into her car only to then give him a disturbing but somewhat realistic lecture about men’s flippant attitude towards sex and relationships. A long verbal tirade of actions and consequence ensues on screen. It’s by far one of Cameron Diaz’s best performances as you can feel a bad event about to happen at her control but as a female viewer sympathise with this characters pain. She then decides to commit lover murder and suicide by driving off a bridge leaving herself dead but him now disfigured and disabled but alive. As his life up to this point relied on his looks and wealth, he begins to become unstable. The lazy rich spoilt man has been outed from his family company by annoyed board members and then on top has lost his looks which were important to his social persona.
Unable to face the life altering change he takes a chance on a tech company who promise to put you into deep coma like sleep where you dream about your favourite memories for the rest of your life. However his dream sequences start to crash with the reality of what ACTUALLY happened during incidents while awake.
It’s an intriguing if somewhat confusing tale which questions how we all as individuals view ourselves and perception of our behaviour and it’s cause and effect on others through personal memory. Are we the creators of our own confusion about of bad and good events and if so how do we personally let these effect the rest of our lives. We as audiences are not entirely convinced the whether the lead character is a good person to begin with and had this moment coming through bad karma. Or is life just a series of uninformed events which just happen and should be handled as best as possible. This is the question the science fiction element poses
Von Von Lamunu