ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon


Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller


Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.


Thoughts on Vanilla Sky


Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.


Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.




World Cinema – The Sea Inside (2004)

Director: Alejandro Amenabar

Writer: Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Screenplay)

Starring: Javier Bardem, Belen Rueda, Lola Duenas, Mabel Rivera, Celso Bugallo, Clara Segura


Plot: The factual story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro, who fought a thirty-year campaign in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Amazingly Inspiring True Story


Story: The Sea Inside starts as we meet Ramon Sampedro (Bardem) a quadriplegic who has been campaign to have the opportunity to be euthanised to end his years of suffering. He lives with his brother’s Jose (Bugallo) Manuela (Rivera) and Javi (Novas) family who take care of him. His latest campaign is to hire Julia (Rueda) a lawyer to fight in his corner as she is also suffering from her own degenerate disease.

While Ramon clashes with his own family about his request he finds friendship in local single mother Rosa (Duenas) as Ramon’s story starts to inspire the people of Spain to make more of their own lives while they still have time and the ability too.


Thoughts on The Sea Inside


Characters/PerformanceRamon is a man that has lived the second half of his life as quadriplegic after an accident, he wants to die but must fight for the right to do so, he always has a smile on his face and inspires others to achieve so much more in their life. Julia is a lawyer that also fights for the right to die as she also has a degenerative disease. We also have Rosa who is a single mother that finds inspiration in a relationship with Ramon.

Performance wise, Javier Bardem is fantastic and you can see just why he gets all the praise for this performance, Rueda and Duenas both are also brilliant in their supporting roles.

StoryThe story isn’t all court case and medical drama which it could have easily been. Instead we learn about Ramon’s reasons to want to die, he also gets to see what he thinks would be to escape if he could continue to be mobile. The idea that he gets to help people also helps because it shows how even when you think your life is over you can help other people. This story is something people should enjoy.

Biographical/RomanceLooking at how Ramon was fighting for the right to die comes through so well, we also get to see how he holds back from true love even if people can fall in love with you.

SettingsHaving the trapped room Ramon finds himself in shows us just how helpless he feels in his life, anything outside the room doesn’t include the Ramon character which in places takes out of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most beautiful and tragic stories you could see with stunning performances, that gives us the moral question about what we would do.


Overall: This is a must watch.