50/50 Review #40: Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes).

This is the film that was remade as Vanilla Sky (in which Penelope Cruz actually reprises her role, strangely enough), which I saw years ago and didn't care a whole lot for. But I heard this one was, of course, much better. But what would I think? The film follows Cesar (Eduardo Noriega), a young man who has inherited his deceased parents' money. On his birthday, his best friend Pelayo (Fele Martinez) brings a date--the beautiful Sofia (Penelope Cruz). Cesar almost immediately falls in love with her and uses her as an excuse to ditch an overly obsessed one-night stand, Nuria (Najwa Nimri). But Nuria doesn't appreciate this and tricks Cesar into getting into her car, which she then crashes. Cesar is horribly disfigured in the wreck, and Sofia won't talk to him anymore. We also discover the story is being told in flashback while Cesar speaks with a psychiatrist named Antonio (Chete Lara), who tries to get a confession out of him. Apparently Cesar killed someone. But as he tells the story of what happened, Cesar explains how his whole world has gone insane and it becomes hard to tell dreams from reality. To share any more than that would be a disservice to the film.

So on that note, you might have gathered that I liked it. And I did. I haven't seen Vanilla Sky in about a decade, but I strangely remembered a handful of things as they happened in this version (a very strange deja vu feeling, which is kind of ironic considering the film). I also remembered the ending, so it wasn't very surprising when it came down to it.

What I liked best about this film was how it messed with your head. You really were never sure what was a dream and what was real. You didn't know if Cesar was insane or if it was something like Fincher's The Game going on (and this shares some similarities with that, as well). Even by the time the film becomes obvious, the way it's made still made me keep guessing. That being said, I would have liked it if was a little more ambiguous. By the time we get to the climax, it's practically spelling everything out for you. The ultimate ending would also work better if they'd left everything else a little more ambiguous. In other words, it should be been a little closer to something like Inception, where you can look through the film or debate about the truth of everything. Instead, it really only leaves you with one way of looking at it, and everything about it is explained.

Besides that, the film looks really good visually. The aesthetics in dealing with Cesar's face is done well. From the prosthetics on his face to the masks that he wore, everything looked really good. On top of that, the film was shot beautifully. There were really some fantastic shots in this movie, and it was really nice to look at in that regard.

The acting is really good, as well. Eduardo Noriega is very believable, and you really feel everything he's going through. He also manages to play the role so well that, just like him, you're having difficulties knowing if everything that's happening is just some paranoid scheme against him or if it's all something much more. And, of course, Penelope Cruz is just as fantastic as she is beautiful (and she's insanely beautiful). I also really liked Chete Lara as Antonio. By the time we get to the end of the movie, you really like the guy and feel for him, especially in the climax.

Overall, yeah, it was a really good movie. Everything was done really well. And even thought I already knew the ending from Vanilla Sky, it was still so well made that I was continually second guessing myself. Again, I would have liked to have seen a more ambiguous ending. I think that would have made the film even stronger. But otherwise it was good all around.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

1 comment:

  1. Obviously need to re-watch it. I thought the ending weren't super solid but a little open ended hence why I have always enjoyed re-watching it. I also like the blurriness attached to live vs dream and different time lines. I think it hold up pretty well!


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