Open Your Eyes

Alejandro Amembar's new movie is exactly the type of movie that American audiences would love but won't see, simply because it's not in English. What a shame. Wildly popular in Spain, Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos) should disappear quickly from American theaters, which isn't a good thing. One of the older cliches to use in movies and television is to have the protagonist wake up when the story is over, and find out that everything that happened was just a dream. Amembar takes this concept and literally beats it to death, creating a story that starts off kind of slow, then picks up very quickly.

Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) is a ladies man. He has a reputation for staying with a woman for only one night. He meets his best friend's date Sofia (Penelope Cruz) at a party, and decides that she will be his next conquest. He goes home with her, and they are up all night talking. In the morning, Nuria, one of Cesar's jealous ex-girlfriends, is waiting for him. She convinces him to let her take him home. Then, in a fit of rage, she crashes the car and dies. Or does she? Cesar can't remember. If Nuria is dead, then why can he later talk to her? And why is his face horribly scarred one minute, and fine the other? And then he finds that he is in prison for a murder that he can't remember commiting? Or is he? What the heck is going one? Amember has Cesar continually waking up from what may or may not be dreams, until everyone watching is as thoroughly confused as Cesar, and it's a great feeling. You know that somehow, all of these seemingly different stories are going to come together in the end, and you can't wait to see how.

Again, we have a movie dealing with a world that may or may not be real. But Open Your Eyes is much more similar to 12 Monkeys than the Matrix. Writer and director Amembar twists the story so often that you are forced to sit there and let it all unfold before you. It's very refreshing to see different faces on the big screen, and also nice to watch Penelope Cruz in action. She is extremely popular in Europe, and should be surfacing on American screens again sometime next year. For the many many people who missed this movie, they may be able to get a second chance - Tom Cruise bought the rights to remake Open Your Eyes in English. So who knows - maybe after Mission Impossible 2 and Minority Report (with Steven Speilberg), Cruise may pump out an American version of this great movie.

Haro rates is: Really good.
1 hour, 57 minutes, Rated R for sex and violence.

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