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Open Your Eyes

Open Your Eyes on DVD

De-Facing Up to Unreality

This is a mind game of a movie, told mostly in flashback until the very end at which point it veers straight out into left field and accelerates madly to the closing credits.

It features a bit of Total Recall, The Truman Show, Thirteenth Floor, and other "cerebrally-challenging" movies like that, where you're never really sure who's who and what's what. Open Your Eyes isn't as good as some of these other flicks, but it sure tries hard.

Cesar is a young, handsome Spanish entrepreneur. Disfigured in a car crash caused by a whacko woman flame has has just blown off, he wears a mask to hide his horrible features. Other than that, he thinks he has his life together again; he returns to his life, and resumes hanging out with his best friend and the woman he loves (played by the luminous Penelope Cruz).

Or does he?

Most of the film, which is in Spanish with subtitles, is recounted through Cesar's recollections as told to his doctor in a psychiatric penitentiary, via the abovementioned flashbacks. It jumps all over the place and is very hard to follow - deliberately so; we're supposed to be as confused as Cesar is (and we are!).

We learn a good way through the film that Cesar has been charged with murder, but he doesn't remember why and at that point we don't know why either; most of the film is about him trying to remember why - or at least to tell the shrink what the heck is going on.

As the movie progresses, we learn more and more and discover that there's a lot of extra information being imparted than we originally thought. The conclusion leaps us into an entirely new reality that's only hinted at vaguely earlier in the film.

The performances are good, especially Eduardo Noriega as Cesar. Cruz is also very good, though in "Open Your Eyes" she isn't nearly as eye opening as she was in "Woman on Top."

The DVD is presented with digitally mastered anamorphic widescreen video, 16x9 TV compatible, and Dolby 2 channel audio. Picture and sound quality are very good. Extras are limited to some production notes, and cast/crew information.

Interesting flick, remade by Cameron Crowe as Vanilla Sky…

Open Your Eyes, from Artisan Home Entertainment
117 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV compatible), Dolby 2.0 surround
Starring Eduardo Noriega, Penelope Cruz, Fele Martínez, Chete Lera
Produced by Fernando Bovaira, José Luis Cuerda
Written by Alejandro Amenábar, Mateo Gil
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar


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Updated May 13, 2006