A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * * * · ) DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )
I can't tell if Vanilla Sky is a really great movie or just a rip off of a couple other movies with almost exactly the same plot. Even mentioning what movies would spoil half the fun. I can say that it is probably worth a look for yourself.
What makes Vanilla Sky less of a copycat film is the great acting, a well developed story and good direction by Jason Lee both help fill a story of the lost morality of the filthy rich. The story's two major turning points come just at the right times, building three solid acts with entirely different ideas.
The main problem seems to be with the third act. While it used to be a pretty original plot idea, recently it has just become something we have seen before, and often in a much better light. There is one very nice twist near the end, surrounding the psychologist played by Kurt Russell and his sudden realization of who exactly he is. It's probably the best single moment in the entire movie. When all is said and done, the movie will keep you thinking a few days. You either have to buy it or you don't, and I decided to buy it. I can understand why it got the slamming it did, but it just wasn't that bad a movie.
The DVD of Vanilla Sky includes a picture perfect 16x9 enhanced 1.85 to 1 picture with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is a making of feature and a directors commentary. The only thing missing was a DTS soundtrack, though I can't say I missed it that much. Given the tendency to release dumbed down versions of movies and "collector editions" later, I applaud Paramount for coming out with such a full version of a not-so-popular film.
Vanilla Sky is a good movie. I can't say it rebuilds the mystery of story-telling or creates any kind of earth shattering monumental film. The acting, script, sets, direction and story are all well done. Only a smudge of "hey, haven't I seen this before" gives me a small bit of reservation. Still it is an entertaining piece of work and one definitely worth seeing.