Cesar is a young, handsome, but vain showboater that never goes home with the same woman twice. That is, until he meets a smart and classy artist that he instantly falls in love with. The next day, he accepts a ride from an ex-lover who then runs the car off of the road out of jealousy, killing herself and hideously disfiguring him. His mind becomes as twisted as his new face as he falls into a deep depression and psychosis before finally losing touch with reality.
OPEN YOUR EYES is smart and original, although the many twists and turns can often become confusing up until the final reveal. It immediately grabs the audience through its sharp dialogue and sophisticated characters that carry the film on an emotional high from start to finish. Much of the credit is due to the intense performances by Penelope Cruz and Eduardo Noriega, who create an intimate and sincere chemistry on screen. One of the many themes the film tackles is the importance of physical attraction and looks in society, with the concept being played out through the use of masks (both physical and emotional) all throughout the plot. There are also explorations of dream psychology and alternate planes of existence that occur as Cesar's mind starts slipping, but these elements must be left for each new viewer to discover on their own. Alejandro Amenabar breaks through with this bright script and clear directorial style, and he would go on to write and direct the 2001 hit THE OTHERS.
Cameron Crowe remade the film into VANILLA SKY in America, featuring Tom Cruise in the lead while retaining Penelope Cruz as the beautiful Sophia. OPEN YOUR EYES also shares many thematic devices at use in the stellar ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, and Horror fans that are open to bloodless psychological terror will find an excellent example in this Spanish Thriller!
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**Also, be sure to look for a subtle nod to THE WICKER MAN in the club scene!**