Open Your Eyes

51D6JAMK2WL. SL160  Open Your Eyes

Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenabar’s surreal psychological suspenser (remade by director Cameron Crowe as “Vanilla Sky”) stars Eduardo Noriega as a handsome lothario who accepts a ride home from a jealous ex-flame. The trip ends in a crash that kills the woman and leaves Noriega’s face hideously scarred, but his troubles are only beginning as the lines between illusion and reality, between life and death, are blurred. Penelope Cruz, Najwa Nimri also star. 117 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundt

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3 Responses to “Open Your Eyes”

  1. wadrad Says:
    70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Example of fine movie making out of Europe…, March 28, 2003
    wadrad (Land of Bitburger, Bratwurst, und Lederhosen) –
    This review is from: Open Your Eyes (DVD)

    Outstanding film. Bought this DVD after seeing and enjoying Vanilla Sky. If you liked Vanilla Sky, it’s pretty interesting to see Abre Los Ojos, the inspiration for it. In fact, I was surprised how closely the stories stuck together. Scene for scene they unfold in almost the exact same way (unlike some Hollyweed remakes of foreign flicks). To be honest, I like both movies a lot, and for slightly different reasons. Not sure why some folks slam the heck out of Vanilla Sky and praise this to pieces since they’re so similar (quite a few foreign film snobs seem to lean that way–which I don’t understand since almost half of my DVD collection is comprised of non-American productions). Abre Los Ojos did an awesome job crafting a story that was interesting and pulled the watcher in without a bunch of over-the-top special effects. One of its strengths is just the sheer way it pulls you in with the simplicity of executing a far-from-simple story. I do think Penelope Cruz’ performance was stronger in this version. She adds a little more depth to her character, and it feels a little more fleshed out. Conversely I think the Nunia/Julie Gianni character (the spurned love interest in the story) is better executed by Cameron Diaz. She injects just enough of an eery quality into her character that puts you cautiously on edge. Najwa Nimri, the actress in Open Your Eyes, does the roll well, but with less dimension. Another noticeable difference is Noriega’s `César’ (the main character). In Abre Los Ojos, he comes across as more of a naïve victim of circumstance. Yes, he’s callow and cocky, but not necessarily conniving. Cruise’ character seems much more aware of his circumstances and bit more manipulative. Regardless of the differences, both flicks are way worth watching, and need to be given more than one viewing to be really appreciated. Strong performances across the board support an interesting and twisting story line that might leave you a little confused at times, but definitely not bored. Five stars, two thumbs up, and a `hip hip hooray’!!

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  2. D. Litton Says:
    54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Increases emotion and suspense inch by careful inch., December 15, 2001
    D. Litton (Wilmington, NC) –

    This review is from: Open Your Eyes (DVD)

    Alejandro Amenabar’s “Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos)” operates on the notion that dreams and reality walk hand-in-hand down the path of life. It deals with elements of psychological bliss and disturbance in ways reminiscent of Hitchcock and “The Twilight Zone,” evoking a tone of constant underlying dread that remains in the mind long after the movie’s earth-shattering climax. This isn’t a thriller in the traditional sense, but its thought-provoking plot is a testament to Amenabar’s superb storytelling capability.

    The film begins normally enough by introducing us to César (played by Eduardo Noriega), a wealthy man with popularity and good looks tucked under his sleeve. He’s got a best friend, Pelayo (Fele Martínez), who takes pleasure in chiding him about his involvement with the persistent Nuria (Najwa Nimri), who simply won’t take no for an answer when it appears that César has lost interest in her. His birthday party marks the start of a new relationship with the lovely and high-spirited Sofia (Penélope Cruz), yet his reservations about moving too fast with her further infuriate Nuria, who offers him a ride back to his apartment the following morning only to run the both of them down a hillside into a wall.

    The accident leaves Nuria dead and César badly injured, with facial scars untreatable by his physicians, who try to convince him of the risks involved in attempting to return his face to its former state. His disfigurement is a burden to him, as well as to Sofia and Pelayo, who find discomfort not in his looks, but in his downtrodden attitude and outlook on his future. Noriega captures this lapse in emotion quite wonderfully, while also sharing a great chemistry with Cruz which keeps us involved with the romantic aspect of the story as well as the forthcoming mystery.

    The movie soon reaches a point where everything seems to change… César finds himself in the arms of Sofia, sharing a love he never thought possible; his doctors have come up with a solution to his facial scars, restoring his face back to its handsome look. Everything seems to be going quite well for him, until one night he finds Nuria in his bed and his happy life turned upside down by his friends, who persist in telling him that this woman he clearly despises is Sofia.

    The story is good at keeping its audience at bay for information and twists, casting us into a darkness so that César’s confusion and delirium soon becomes our own as well. His struggle to recover the clues that will solve the mystery behind his life’s sudden downfall is intriguing and effectively induces thought among viewers, who will no doubt find themselves recalling clues, piecing together scenes and characters, lines of dialogue and different objects César has come in contact with. It’s all a sense of mystifying wonderment, and Amenabar is able to lay on plot twist after plot twist at just the right pace so that we hunger for more.

    Your acceptance of the movie’s final resolution ultimately depends on your willingness to suspend disbelief, as well as your scrutiny. It begs its audience to question its intentions, to ask why certain events have come to pass, why certain characters thought to be dead have come back to haunt César; I think most people will be inclined to ask one question (SPOILER ALERT): If César has been creating his own world, then why does he torture himself with his past? This is a question the movie doesn’t answer forthright; perhaps it is better left unanswered, as it most likely will take away from the impact the final twist will have.

    As I finish this review, I still find myself perplexed by the complex nature and stunning array of twists and surprises that Amenabar supplies his film with. As I watched the film, I found myself straying away from its conclusion, but upon further thought, I realize that it serves the purpose of tying the film together in a manner that does justice to the story that leads up to it. I still have my reservations about the nature of César’s final state of mind, but the effectiveness of the overall film easily makes it a minor flaw.

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  3. Charlotte Wooden Says:
    28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    “Abre Los Ojos”…Makes “Vanilla Sky” look very bland…, November 29, 2002
    Charlotte Wooden (McMinnville, TN United States) –
    Amazon Verified Purchase(', ‘AmazonHelp’, ‘width=400,height=500,resizable=1,scrollbars=1,toolbar=0,status=1′);return false; “>What’s this?)
    This review is from: Open Your Eyes (DVD)

    I saw “Abre Los Ojos” quite a while before I saw “Vanilla Sky,” and to me it is far superior. Cameron Crowe’s version of this dark and twisted dreamscape is so prettied up and sanitized that much of the impact of the story is lost–as is the case with many Americanized versions of foreign-language films. Eduardo Noriega is amazing (and beautiful)in “Abre Los Ojos,” giving the character of Cesar a sense of darkness as well as vulnerability, not to mention the egocentricity of a spoiled child that is expected in the character–Tom Cruise, on the other hand, just seems like a movie star throughout his entire performance in “Vanilla Sky.” Penelope Cruz’s performance in this original version is much more believable…ironic, considering she and Cruise became a couple. The chemistry between Cruz and Noriega is much more palpable. The Madrid scenery is amazing, and there is a dreamlike quality to the film that comes from excellent cinematography and just plain good film-making…not Hollywood “magic”. The characters are believable, and the ending is not as “sugar coated,” so that it has an even bigger impact on the audience. Skip the Vanilla…and open your eyes.

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