Lucid Dream Movie Reviews - Vanilla Sky
Spoiler Alert: Vanilla Sky is a remake of the Spanish film Abre Los Ojos (which is arguably better than the new rendition). The Tom Cruise portrayed central character, David Aames, is the wealthy inheritor of a New York publishing firm. Handsome. Rich. Bachelor. After meeting and falling in love (after one night) with a beautiful woman, David's ex-girlfriend attempts to kill herself and him by way of car crash. She was jealous. He was foolish to accept a ride.
David survives the crash while the ex succeeds in offing herself, and he immediately goes from carefree playboy to a disfigured, miserable version of himself. Surgically having his face restored to his pre-crash form, David cannot repair the psychological scarring, and continues to have flashes of seeing his face as still disfigured. Although Aames has periods of lucid-like upswings, dating the girl of his dreams (that started this whole falling domino mess) and retaking control of his company, he keeps slipping back into psychotic episodes. He even kills his girlfriend by way of pillow smothering when her face morphs into that of the crazy ex-girlfriend.
The kicker is that David Aames discovers he is dreaming everything onward after an early point in the movie. He had signed a contract with a company that can extend your life after you would otherwise be dead by keeping your mind immersed in what is referred to as a lucid dream. Succumbing to deep depression, David overdoses on pills, and although what he payed for was intended to be a perfect virtual experience during his life-extension--simulation, the system malfunctioned and more often than not was experienced as a nightmare.
A problem, for me, is that what is referred to as a "lucid dream" in this movie is more like a vivid, realistic dream. Cruise as David Aames does become lucid of his actual predicament toward the end of the film, but this wasn't the first or last time that I've seen the definition of "lucid dream" misapplied to mean "realistic." However, true to what dreaming is really like, Aames's experience is a blend of intention and things just going wrong. Even in a lucid dream, we are not guaranteed all roses and rainbows. Oh, another little thing - at the end of the movie David is being told by an employee/avatar that he is in a dream, and he payed for all this, except the dream has gone wrong; in dreams, it is rare (maybe never happens?) for a dream character to admit that this is all just a dream.