Open Your Eyes

"Excellent"

Open Your Eyes Review


If Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch had collaborated on a project, the result might have been something like Open Your Eyes. Kubrick's most common themes -- imaginary worlds, sexual and social obsessions, distrust of emotion, human depravity, and a journey towards freedom and self-knowledge -- present themselves here. Lynch's usual themes -- dreams and illusion vs. reality, persuasion, fear, self-submission, murder, and curiosity -- also sprinkle themselves into this movie's stirring, complex recipe.

From the moment the movie opens, it's unclear of what is real and what is not. We meet a handsome, young, successful businessman named César (Eduardo Noriega), who drives expensive cars, resides in a classy residence, and enjoys an endless supply of beautiful women.

But his latest female bed-buddy, Nuria (Najwa Nimri), gets a little too close for César's comfort. When she invades his birthday party, César uses his best friend's gorgeous romantic interest, Sofia (Penélope Cruz), as a means to rid himself of her.

The following morning, César finds Nuria waiting in her car outside his apartment. She admits to following him, but somehow manages to coax him into her vehicle. In a jealous rage, Nuria accuses Cesar of using her for casual sex, and drives the speeding car into a brick wall.

Nuria dies, but César manages to survive the wreck. With his face now horribly disfigured, César wears a mask to conceal his newly grotesque features. He also finds himself locked up in a prison, where he faces murder charges.

It's here where the David Lynch seeds truly sprout, as the movie questions César's perception of reality with a series of mind-boggling plot twists. While Kubrick's films draw the viewer to a conclusion, David Lynch's do not. He usually leaves room for individual interpretation with an ending that spins in many different directions. It might sound impossible, but Open Your Eyes satisfies both styles.

Yet Open Your Eyes lacks a certain style. Much like some of Kubrick's work, Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar creates an effective atmosphere but never connects with the audience. While César's social life is obvious, the film never develops his thoughts or emotions. Consequently, the psychological and romantic aspects fail.

The movie should dive into César's mind, exploring his distraught vision of reality -- but it only goes skin deep. Speaking of skin, César's disfigured face should play a large part in the story. Yet, the film never explains why César is so concerned with his appearance. We never understand his vanity; it's another subplot that goes nowhere.

That's not to say Open Your Eyes does not develop César. It unravels the character through the circumstances; his actions justify his thoughts. Still, if the film had examined the character from the inside out, we might have identified with him better.

Perhaps the filmmakers chose not to identify all aspects of the character for good reason. Maybe Amenábar left César's mind empty purposefully, so that the audience would fill the vacant space with their own thoughts and emotions. That's exactly what happened with me. By the end, I was asking myself what I would do if I were in César's shoes.

Kubrick and Lynch often force the audience to open their eyes and fill in the blanks. Alejandro Amenábar's movie is a reflection of their work in a pond of his own.

Aka Abre los Ojos. Remade in 2001 as Vanilla Sky.



Open Your Eyes

Facts and Figures

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th December 1997

Distributed by: Artisan Pictures

Production compaines: British Film Institute (BFI)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.