Monday, November 17, 2014

Vanilla Sky

In Vanilla Sky, the ending is a little frustrating. It has a good message, sure - sometimes the best thing to do is to start over - but learning that the entire movie was a dream is a sure way to annoy most of the audience. The point where everything became a dream is interesting, though. It starts out pretty
boring, washed-out colors, basic dialogue shots and two shots most of the time. But then there's this shot of the mask lying on the ground because that's where David passed out. The transition from this to the morning is subtle, but what happens is all of the colors get brighter, the skies go to their permanent state of Monet-like perfection, and, of course, Sofia has returned to him and is telling him to open his eyes. This moment has a lot of deeper meaning within the film, showing the point where David chose to splice the Lucid Dream with his real life. He chose this moment because this was the moment when he could tell that he'd just let a real chance at love walk out of his life. It was the kind of moment he could only really notice as a turning point upon looking back at his whole life. But in the
film, it is abundantly clear that a change has happened. Even without knowing that this is where the dream begins, it is clear that something has happened. The colors are brighter, the scenes are more exciting, the plot begins to move along faster. Now that David and Sofia have found each other, nothing else can happen. Of course, there are still the flash-forwards to David in the mask in prison after everything has gone wrong, but for the most part after passing out in the street everything gets better. The editing is what gives the film that feeling of excitement and wonder that is found in a dream, where everything is perfect. The editing also brought the incredible transition between the last of David's real life and the beginning of his new, dream life.

Another thing that was edited very well into the movie was David's scars disappearing and reappearing. He didn't reconnect with Sofia until after he got the scars, and until then he also didn't
want to have them. But she accepted him regardless of the scars, and he was happy despite his disfigurement. His choice to have his scars removed and his face fixed has a deeper meaning as well, but first and foremost he chose to fix his face so that Sofia would be happier because she wouldn't have to put up with stares and judgments from other people. He also wanted to go back to looking like and acting like the person she had first met. The deeper meaning behind the scars being removed from his face is that he is trying to leave his old life with Julie behind. Everything that she did to him, he is trying to remove so that he can love Sofia more fully. This scene was well-edited, as it used a variety of techniques like deep focus to keep the audience from seeing his face as Sofia peels the mask away. It creates a moment of suspense, the same one that David is feeling in that moment. The editing shows how much Sofia and David mean to each other, and how they are willing to do anything for the other. At one point, however, David has a nightmare that the scars have returned, and it surprises everyone when he turns on the light and
there is a scarred face in the mirror instead of a smooth one. Then he wakes up. There is parallel editing as he makes his way over to the sink and mirror again, just like in the dream. This creates a feeling of tension, because the audience knows what happened before when this happened. They know what should be coming, what has been set up to come. Of course, the dream he had was just a nightmare, but after this is when everything else starts to go wrong. The return of his scars signifies the guilt he has over being so happy with Sofia after Julie worked her way into his life. The dream environment was controlled by his mind, and his mind wouldn't let go of Julie. So she was back into his life. This was all preluded by the suspenseful nightmare about the return of his scars, and without the way it was edited, there might not have been a tension on which to build the falling apart of the dream world.

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