I’m not sure what’s going on in my brain, but for some reason a Digital Art and Culture lecture reminded me of a film starring Tom Cruise again. I’m not that much of a fan of mr Cruise, but I do love one of the films he’s starring in: Vanilla Sky.
Vanilla Sky is what some people would call a “mindfuck movie”. It fits in the same category as films like Donnie Darko, American Beauty, The Butterfly Effect and Memento: all of the mentioned films have strange storylines and can be difficult to follow. The story is about rich playboy David Aames, who is in a friends-with-benefits relationships with wannabe singer Julianna Gianni. At a party, he is introduced to a girl named Sofia, with whom he falls madly in love. Julianna gets jealous and emotionally instable, and attempts to kill herself and David by crashing her car.
This is where the confusion begins. When David wakes up, his face is more or less ruined by the car accident. It takes a while for him to go back to having a social life, but when he does, he hooks up with Sofia. They’re happy together, but David starts suffering from nightmares, and at some point starts confusing these nightmares with reality. He ends up confusing Sofia with Julianna and accidentally kills her.
Nothing in David’s life seems to make sense anymore. This changes when, during a session with his therapist, David sees a television commercial for the so-called “Life Extension” company. He and his therapist decide to go to the Life Extension office to look for answers. When they arrive there, it turns out that David has signed a contract with Life Extension. The company turns out to be specialized in cryonic suspension: freezing people who have died in order to wake them up at some point in the future, when there’s a proper medical treatment for whatever killed them. In the “real world”, David has died, and he has been able to program his own dreams during his cryonic sleep. He has never had a serious relationship with Sofia, but hasn’t killed her in the real world either.
The saddest moment of the film for me had nothing to do with David’s life story. It were a couple of lines spoken by David’s therapist, Curtis McCabe. He is sure he’s real, and if David decides to go back to the real world, he’ll stop existing.
Though this film has nothing to do with androids and the like, it has everything to do with what’s real and what’s fake.It managed to really touch me.