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A self-indulgent slog of a sci-fi remake tries to find redemption on Netflix

Plenty of navel-gazing going on, but subscribers don't seem to mind.

vanilla sky
via Paramount

As bizarre as it sounds to trash a hugely successful and massively ambitious existential sci-fi drama that boasted a stacked cast of A-list superstars for living to disappoint, Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky often became so indulgent that it genuinely felt in real danger of disappearing up its own ass.

An undeniably glossy, stylish, and visually impressive remake of Spain’s Open Your Eyes, the Americanized retread was ironically hollow, given that the story is driven by the superficial nature of Tom Cruise’s David Aames, who struggles to reconcile the differences between fantasy, reality, life, death, love, and loss following a traumatic car accident.

vanilla sky
via Paramount

Seeing Cruise sprint through an empty Times Square remains as impressive now as it ever did considering the lengths Vanilla Sky went to in order to get the shot, but for a filmmaker who often wears their heart on their sleeve, there’s something unshakably hollow about the entire enterprise that doesn’t really make it feel like a Crowe film at all.

The cast make it worth checking out if you’re in the mood for a mindf*ck that may leave you impressed or irritated depending which side of the divide you end up falling on, though, but the excessive 137-minute exercise in frequent naval-gazing and not being quite as clever as it thinks it is has nonetheless been making a dent on the Netflix charts this week.

Per FlixPatrol, Vanilla Sky has been sitting pretty as a member of the global most-watched rankings since Monday, with the Cruise factor no doubt playing a part, and it’ll leave you wondering why the megastar doesn’t tackle roles like this anymore.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.