|Page 1 of 22:||          |
|Index||215 reviews in total|
Sadly due to the lack of availability of 'Open Your Eyes' in Australia
(until now) I saw Cameron Crowe's 'Vanilla Sky' first. Too bad. 'Open Your
Eyes' is the original and best version, and would have impressed me even
more if the surprises in the plot hadn't been ruined for me by the remake.
So I strongly urge you to watch this movie first for maximum impact. It's a
real killer, and especially recommended if you are a fan of mind-blowing
movies such as Frankenheimer's underrated 'Seconds', Cronenberg's brilliant
'Videodrome' and 'eXistenZ'), or have read a Philip K.Dick novel or two.
Eduardo Noriega (star of Amenabar's previous movie, the taut, suspenseful 'Tesis', also worth a look) is much more believable than Tom Cruise as the increasingly baffled protagonist caught in a never-ending nightmare, and Penelope Cruz's performance here is subtler and more appealing than her reprise of Sofia in Crowe's overblown and self-indulgent remake. Alejandro Amenabar has made three excellent imaginative thrillers in a row, and looks like being one of the most potentially exciting directors currently working. 'Open Your Eyes' comes with my highest recommendation. This one is essential viewing.
"Vanilla Sky" turned out to be a moderate success and scored great reviews
by most critics, and I liked it myself. But if you compare it to this film,
there's almost nothing different! But of course, it's all Cameron Crowe's
fault and not the fault of the director of this movie. Luckily, I haven't
seen "VS" in a while, so certain surprises in the plot still intrigued me.
And I was intrigued throughout the film, I think even moreso than with "VS."
Tom Cruise is a fine actor, and I have nothing against him. But I always appreciate seeing unknown actors (at least they're unknown to me; I don't live in Spain, so they might be superstars there) give fine performances. The actor who plays the main character in this film as just as effective as Cruise. He is an extremely attractive man and knows how to express a plethora of emotions. I've never been a big fan of Penelope Cruz's work in the states, because her English still isn't great and that clearly shows in the mangled expression of her dialogue. But in her native language she shows great talent. And since I find her much more attractive than I used to, I'm more appealed by her in the looks department. Plus, as a man I must reveal she has a great nude scene in the film.
One element of the plot that I don't think Crowe's "VS" expressed as well was the jealousy between the handsome main character and his best friend. I was able to connect with that portion of the story, since I have a best friend like the main character who's charming girls left and right, while I (the average guy) have virtually no appeal to the ladies. I know what it's like to possess that sort of envy, and so do the average guys all around who see handsome guys doing the same things we do, but get more favorable results just on account of their good looks. The film also expresses the theme that no matter how many times most attractive men claim their looks are of no importance to them, if their looks were one day to be stolen from them, they'd lose the will to live.
I'm sure if I saw "Vanilla Sky" after this movie, I'd enjoy it a lot less. This is sheer proof that the general American public is too lazy to read subtitles. Because if you were watching the DVD of "VS" and switched the language channels from English to Spanish, it's the same damn movie! And now I feel sorry for the director of this movie, since he's the genius behind this genuinely original story, but Cameron Crowe comes along and takes all the credit. I am not one of those grouches who hates remakes, but if you're going to remake a film, put your own spin on it! Don't take all the original ideas and conduct it with different actors! And wait a couple decades for God's sake! "Open Your Eyes" was released in 1997 and "VS" only four years later. So unless you're illiterate, please see "Open Your Eyes" before you even consider "Vanilla Sky"!
My score: 8 (out of 10)
Go see this film.
Okay, this film is truly one of the most excellent mixtures of genres I have ever seen. It will leave you truly moved, truly surprised, and truly depressed. That's okay, though, because this is such a wonderful movie. The film centers around the life of a rich and handsome young man after a disfiguring accident. We are taken along as he tries to find a way to grow accustomed to a life without the things he relied on (mainly looks) before. After hitting rock bottom, things start to get better for him, and it is here that the seamless weaving of genres occur. I don't want to give too much away, but the film constantly keeps you on your toes and never grows dull. "Abre los Ojos" is a truly stunning love story, psychological thriller, and science fiction film all rolled into a flawless whole. Do yourself a favor and see it before the Cameron Crowe remake, "Vanilla Sky", does to this film what "City of Angels" did to "Wings of Desire".
"Abre Los Ojos" is one of the most astonishing movies I have ever seen. It's so full of astounding twists that it constantly makes you sit up and wonder what the next shot will bring you. At the same time, you keep wondering if a movie with so many twists will be able to tie everything up at the end, but Amenabar and his co-writer manage to do just that, in a reasonably (if not perfectly) satisfying manner. Eduardo Noriega's acting is so good it's beyond belief, and so is the "disfiguring" makeup. Pair this off with "The Game" for a truly mind-bending double feature and see what cinema should be like more often. (***1/2)
How I wish I had seen this film before seeing Vanilla Sky. There is so much subtlety, so many interesting ideas in this that have been butchered or simply lost in translation in the Hollywood version. The ending of Vanilla Sky pretty much explains everything... Abre Los Ojos leaves most of it up to interpretation and the viewers' imagination. Upon my recent second viewing, I realized how many hints there are towards the twist in the film, and how many ideas and subjects for good discussion that are in the film. The direction in Vanilla Sky seemed fine before, but in comparison, it's really daft and unimaginative. The majority of the good stuff in VS is stolen directly from ALO. A lot of it is changed to fit Hollywood's standards(and we all know how... high... they are), and the authenticity of the great idea is almost lost through this. This is the third Alejandro Amenabar movie I've seen(the other two are Thesis and The Others), and definitely my favorite so far. Not many films can catch and keep your interest even when you've already seen a (bastardized and cheaper) version of it already. I couldn't take my eyes off it. Like Amenábar's other films, this is slow and deliberate(whereas Crowe's version, in comparison, seems somewhat rushed, trying to get to the end as fast as possible, despite being a full half hour longer), and it really works to the films benefit. The music is wonderful, and it fits perfectly in every scene. The mood and atmosphere of the film is great. The effects are excellent... by comparison, those of Vanilla Sky are overly flashy and obvious. Here, they're beautiful and very subtle, like the rest of the film. The cinematography is very good, and far superior to that of VS. I realize that this seems more like a comparison between the two films than a review, but I can't seem to find the words to express just how great this is. See it for yourself. And in the name of all that is good and just, see it before you even consider watching Vanilla Sky. I recommend this to fans of intelligent films and/or Alejandro Amenábar. This is quite probably the best film he has made so far(though I haven't seen Mar Adentro yet). 9/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many previous posters can't seem to get past the "it was just a dream"
ending. Fair enough, but what's important here is that the dream is
*created* by Cesar. As Duvernois tells him, the virtual reality is set up
to show him what he wants to see. Thus when his life takes a turn for the
worse, it's because he wants it to happen that way. The question is, why
would somebody who had the opportunity to create a perfect life turn it
The solution lies in the shallowness of Cesar's character. He is a totally self-centered individual, a man who depends on his money and looks to get him whatever he wants. Metaphorically, he is the man in his dream in the opening scene -- alone in an empty city of his own creation. His friendship with Pelayo is in name only. His claims of "love" for Sophia are, at least at first, just as shallow - inspired by pictures on a wall, and easily tossed aside when Nuria offers him a freebie.
Why, then, does the dream go bad? Because once Cesar's face is disfigured, he sees that Sophia only loved his outer beauty. He sees that money can't buy him happiness - it can't even buy him a new face. He sees how easily his "best friend" turns away from him when the going gets rough. And Cesar is never able to resolve these issues while alive - indeed, he chooses suicide to rid himself of the pain. But just as our dreams show us truths we'd rather not face, Cesar's dream brings back these questions in the form of contradictions. What if he, like Sophia, fell in love only have his lover reappear as somebody he didn't recognize? (In his case, Sophia switched for Nuria.) What if only he could see how ugly he really was? Cesar's dream goes bad because he wants it to go bad -- as he is trying to figure out the "reality" of his physical life, he is also probing the reality of his soul.
I found this to be a fascinating movie, not despite the ending but because of it. Like this year's Mulholland Drive, the film examines the way we construct our dreams both to hide reality and to better understand it. I give it a 9.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are some movies that due to their complex nature defy one
interpretation and can't be pegged into a certain category. Much has
been said -- in fact, entire books have been written -- about Alfred
Hitchcock's VERTIGO which started as a routine thriller to turn into
something completely revelatory.
OPEN YOUR EYES (ABRE LOS OJOS) falls into that vein of films and in doing so establishes Alejandro Amenabar as one of the most original writer-directors making films today. Here is the story of Cesar (Eduardo Noriega), a spoiled rich kid who lives in a swanky loft apartment in Madrid, Spain, and who carries an apparently no-strings-attached sexual affair with Nuria (Najra Nimwri), but who one night falls hopelessly in love with his best friend's girlfriend Sofia (Penelope Cruz). Nuria in a jealous frenzy decides to take matters into her own hands and literally drives Cesar into an accident where she dies and he wakes up, his face disfigured beyond repair. His life in shambles, Sofia beyond reach, and virtually a freak of nature, he decides to take one last step in regaining his lost life... and here is when the film becomes something totally unpredictable.
Amenabar is extremely clever in weaving together elements of very different genres in a way one would never tell when it moves from one to the next. In doing so, there is no way one can ever second-guess what may or may not be the next step in this very intricate story that has to be seen at least a second time, and here is where the wonderful suspense lies -- one that would have had Hitchcock beaming with a smug smile in seeing someone had got it right after he had created (and redefined) suspense film after film. Stunning, maybe a little complicated for some, OPEN YOUR EYES will really make you open your eyes and pay attention.
Although the plot is confusing at times, a second viewing helps to untangle
the convoluted story about dreams and reality. Most of the time we are not
sure if what we are watching is really happening or whether it is a
profoundly disturbing nightmare. Cesar (Edouardo Noriega) whose head is
badly fractured in a high speed car crash quite understandably has blurred
recollections of events involving his good buddy Pelayo and his girl friends
Sofia and Nuria. As his doctor explains: In dreams characters are often
substituted, one for the other.
There is much I like about this film. First of all I like the script. The dialogue between Sofia and Cesar at first meeting and afterwards is so natural, so believable. The four main characters are absolutely charming and have a rapport between each other that is rarely seen in films. This is either good casting or good acting, or maybe a bit of both. As the story unfolds we are completely absorbed. This is true entertainment on the highest level. O.K. we may not be fully cognisant of what is happening at times, but we glue ourselves to the screen expecting that an explanation will come in due course.
There are some chilling lines e.g. Just before Nuria steps on the accelerator: "Do you believe in God?"
There are some mysterious questions put to Cesar e.g. "Who is Eli? You called out 'Eli...Eli' while you were dreaming. Is she a girl?" No such person. What then? The mystery deepens.
There is quality photography in the film. The rain in the park. And before that the reflections of foliage flashing in the car windows with glimpses of tense faces.
The make-up team too does a great job On Cesar's handsome face. What a transformation!
On top of all this we get a lesson on cryonics and the possibility of immortality. What more do you want for your money?
Take it from me. This is a film you must see.
I went into this movie with no reservations and was pleasantly astonished
it. I advise anyone else to do the same; it is not like the Matrix, it is
not like Hitchcock, it simply exists in its own right.
The film attempts to be at least two movies in one. Unlike numerous attempts in the industry, it succeeds elegantly. I was drawn into the first part, the character portrait of the wealthy, shallow young man who undergoes a startling change... and then found myself swept up in a keenly sympathetic, psychological suspense film. Part of the success of the story is that it is centered primarily around several young, uncomplicated characters. In Hollywood, such characters in suspense films are usually knifed up within the first few pages of script.
I don't look for anything positive in the upcoming American remake, incidentally. This is a film with depth and yet simplicity, truth and fantasy. It is a pure pleasure to watch, and it simply can not be improved upon without becoming gaudy and confusing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I recently watched Abre Los Ojos. That prompted me to then rent Vanilla Sky. I relate that only because the order in which you see these movies is important. Specifically, by the time I saw VS, I knew everything about the story, and there was no longer any sense of unraveling a mystery that is an important part of these movies. But that is not all. On almost every score, Abre Los Ojos is the better movie. First the acting. In ALO, Penelope Cruz is sweet, loving and heartbreakingly beautiful. Reprising the same role in VS, she struggles with her Spanish accent, and there is absolutely no chemistry between her and Tom Cruise. Also, her character in VS repeatedly engages in a strange kind of smart-alecky banter that is not funny and is just plain misplaced in this movie. And yes, I hate to say it, but Ms. Cruz is nowhere near as attractive in VS as she was in ALO. Watch the movies back-to-back and the difference is startling. As for the other characters, I thought the spurned female role was better done in ALO. The actress who played Nuria in ALO conveyed a palpable sense of desperation and sadness, but also vulnerability. When she kills herself, and tries to take Cesar with her, it's believable. Not so with Cameron Diaz's portrayal of that same character in VS, who comes off as a spoiled tramp whose decision to kill herself seems like a hissy fit. That may not be all her fault. For instance, during the critical scene where she kills herself and tries to kill Cruise, Diaz is forced to utter dialog that is dopey and distractingly vulgar. Nuria has more grace, and more depth. Tom Cruise is not a terrible male lead, but the Spanish actor who played Cesar in ALO is much better suited for the role. He is younger, and portrays youthful arrogance and insouciance perfectly. There is also an innocence about him that Cruise can no longer do. Especially physically. At times in VS, I was thinking more about Tom Cruise's weightlifting regimen more than the mental anguish of his character. Unlike the crippling sadness of Cesar, Cruise's character is a turbo-charged superstar. In fact, it's not until the final scene, when the truth unravels itself, that Cruise finally brings his performance down to a human level. Last, the music. ALO has an unobtrusive, Hitchcockian score (see Vertigo to get my drift) that is haunting, and is very effective in creating a brooding, dreamlike atmosphere. Cameron Crowe's blaring soundtrack in VS, conversely, is a slick pop cliché that detracts, instead of enhances, the experience. The musical differences really do speak volumes here. ALO is dark, ethereal, and moving. VS is loud, brash, and coarse.
|Page 1 of 22:||          |
|External reviews||Parents Guide||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|