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Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) is a man who has everything - looks, wealth, women. At his birthday party, his best friend Pelayo (Fele Martinez) introduces him to actress Sofia (Penelope Cruz), to whom he is immediately attracted. But Nuria (Najwa Nimri), an obsessive ex-girlfriend taunts him while driving in her car, and in a moment of madness, crashes the car and dies, leaving Cesar horrifically scarred. When surgery is unsatisfactory, doctors suggest he wears a mask to hide his features. But what of Sofia?

Review by Louise Keller:
What a difference an original makes! This is the film that Vanilla Sky wanted to be, and failed. But strangely enough, because of Vanilla Sky, there has been added interest in the film that so inspired Tom Cruise. Unquestionably, Alejandro Amenábar has created a unique work, at times enthralling, mystifying and fascinating, while at the same time being a muddled confusion. Amenábar's work in The Others is doubtless more complete and there are moments (as in David Lynch films) when I wondered if I had missed something, because suddenly the reality has changed. Open Your Eyes is often a bewildering experience, but dazzles with its original and bold psychological gymnastics. Penelope Cruz, who plays Sofia in both this and the Hollywood remake, is very beautiful here and much more at home in her native tongue, while Eduardo Noriega is just right as Cesar. Noriega, whose performance in The Devil's Backbone should not be missed, is credible as the playboy obsessed. His good looks are more than skin deep and he creates a character that we can sympathise with, if not totally understand. The intrigue begins very early, and it's clear to see that there is nothing predictable or straightforward about this film. One minute Cesar is at a squash game, talking about appearances; the next he is sitting on the floor talking to a psychiatrist. There's a charming scene after the accident, when Cesar follows Sofia into the park, where she begins performing a mime routine. She is wearing a harlequin outfit and white face, and when it starts to rain, her face begins to run. It's a passive scene and one that haunts. Edgy and beautifully shot with shadows and reflections, Amenábar also has a hand in the music that gives the film such a creepy mood. The entire film is dream like and the scenes when Cesar wears his obscene mask back to front are enthralling. First seen in profile, we glimpse a man with two faces…. An eerie and unforgettable moment. It's a puzzling story that dips in and out of reality, but one that is thought provoking and allows us to contemplate to live the dream not the nightmare.

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Abre Los Ojos

CAST: Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz, Chete Lera, Fele Martínez

PRODUCER: Fernando Bovaira, José Luis Cuerda

DIRECTOR: Alejandro Amenábar

SCRIPT: Alejandro Amenábar, Mateo Gil


EDITOR: María Elena Sáinz de Rozas

MUSIC: Alejandro Amenábar, Mariano Marín

OTHER: ART DIRECTION: Wolfgang Burmann

RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes


VIDEO RELEASE: May 29, 2002

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