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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 February 2002
Do not watch Vanilla Sky before experiencing the entrancing power of it's predecessor, the quieter but far more emotive 'Open Your Eyes'.
Alejandro Amanabar's Spanish picture is complex and challenging, but also careful and ultimately rewarding.
Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) is a young, handsome, and wealthy playboy who looks after his own interests with seldom regard to others, including his best friend Pelayo. However, when Pelayo attends a party with the enchanting Sofia (Penelope Cruz, playing the role to perfection), Cesar is immediately drawn to her beauty and charm. He returns with her to her apartment, and spends the night with her, although unusually he doesn't push for anything more than Platonic friendship for the night.
The following morning, as he leaves Sofia's apartment, he runs into an obsessive past conquest, Nuria. She lures him into the car. As if in punishment for this decision, the plot sees the insanely jealous Nuria steer the car off the road in an horrific crash, killing herself and severely disfiguring the vain Cesar.
What follows is a journey into Cesar's own personal hell. Frustrated, confused and bitter, he struggles to regain control of his life. But strange things are happening...
To explain any more of the plot would be criminal. Do not allow anyone to give it away to you, the impact of the storyline is crucial to the films success. Nothing is what it appears to be in this picture, the film initially seems to be about a man coming to terms with a terrible accident, but 'Open Your Eyes' is so much more imaginative and innovative than this. It is at once a love story, science fiction and thriller, and yet so much more.
I was left feeling emotionally worn; I truly felt that my view of the world had altered. This is a film that will stay with you for days, if not weeks. It will make you think about relationships, mental states, and our obsession with image and appearance.
I have bought the DVD version so that I can watch it a few more times, and it just gets better. My only criticism is that there are no extras on the DVD, but when a film is this good it justifies itself as the only feature necessary.
Step into Cesar and Sofia's strange world, become entranced by their story. Open your eyes to one of the best films ever made.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 September 2010
Mostly fascinating, if occasionally a bit too silly and far-fetched for it's own good. Multiple realities and questions of perception always fascinate me, and this was no exception. Additionally, most of the performances were very, very strong.

But it did have a few moments of seeming too pleased with itself for how clever it was, and the end made me wonder if the whole thing wasn't a bit more shallow than I was giving it credit for being.

None-the-less, beautifully shot, and full of interesting ideas and unexpected twists. I should probably see it again; I liked it quite a bit on first viewing, and it's one of those complex, challenging films that might grow even better on repeated viewings.
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on 7 October 2002
Anyone who says the only reason 'Open your eyes' is so poular is because of Vanilla Sky (the remake) is wrong, I stumbled across Open your eyes one night on television, and was totally gripped, i went immediately to amazon the next day and bought it!
The story is stunning, original and so gripping, dont even think of making a cuppa whilst watching! Vanilla Sky is a very poor attempt and is so 'hollywood'. The original is far more sinister and intense, the acting is fantastic and though this is the first foreign film with subtitles i've bought, it only adds to the films richness.
If you appreciate GOOD films and i mean really aprreciate them you will want this in your collection along with Thesis, you won't be disappointed i guarantee it.
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on 24 February 2002
Despite having the same lead female (Penelope Cruz), and being the basis of Vanilla Sky, this movie is around about 10times greater. The acting is brilliant, that is if you can manage to view it, as you have to read the subtitles. This is possibly the only bad part to a movie so filled with 'action' and makes you think hard about life. The subtitles also make it a reason to buy it, as you would have to view it more than once to get everything taken in. Yet this is not to say you would only view it just twice because as soon as you finish watching it, your finger is twitching to hit rewind to watch it that one more time. Eduardo Noriego plays the part of Cesar and does so more effectively than Tom Cruise's portrayal in Vanilla Sky. Penelope Cruz's performance is on a par with Noriego's.... It only leaves me to say, please go out and buy it as your life will not be complete without it (no really), it makes you think about lots of things you would never question before...
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on 30 November 2002
I was fortunate enough to see this movie on video before the American remake was made. I was absolutely amazed by its smartness and originality and was still thinking about it long after! I'd never seen anything like it. I've seen it multiple times now and am still amazed. I was not impressed by Vanilla Sky, even though I heard that they tried to redo it exactly the same way. Vanilla Sky's pounding soundtrack didn't help. Open Your Eyes was much more subtle. I also thought that the character was likeable in Open Your Eyes but not in Vanilla Sky.
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I encountered this gem in the days when Channel 4 used to show amazing films in the small hours and from the moment we hear a voice intoning 'Open You Eyes' I was hooked. Beginning as a straight love story, soon the film is anything but straight: we go down a rabbit hole of Alice-like bewilderment. The themes are familiar to anyone loving Pirandello's plays: what is reality? What is love and how it is frustrated, or seemingly not? Who or indeed what can one trust? There is a dash of Cyrano in the emergence of frustrated yet eloquent love and the fantastical scenes have an otherworldly yet quotidian aspect that would make Nic Roeg proud. A quite marvellous effort that this terrific director has yet to equal, (a sort of adult's version of 'The Matrix'). Brilliant
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on 14 December 2012
*Spoiler Free*

This film was remade in 2001 by Cameron Crowe, starred Tom Cruise and was renamed Vanilla Sky. Now I love Cameron Crowe and enjoy Tom Cruise and the rest of the cast but something about Vanilla Sky just didn't work for me. I couldn't relate to the characters, I didn't like the climax, it felt cold and lifeless but most of all it just didn't feel right.
So I wasn't too interested in seeing the original as I hadn't really loved it and I now knew the twists. However, people kept saying the original was much better and essential viewing so I decided to give it a shot.
I am so glad I did because Open Your Eyes is fantastic. It's hard to explain but unlike Vanilla Sky everything in this movie just felt right. The cast seemed to give better, more emotional performances, the score was great, the Madrid location really tied into and grounded the story and the visuals seemed far better with excellent editing that gives it a very unique feel. Without spoiling anything, the ending is different to the remake, the original suggests a much more psychologically interesting and complex revelation. I never hated Vanilla Sky it was ok, but with Open Your Eyes I just immediately fell in love with it from the first shot. The performances are great, the exterior scenes in Madrid are great, the sets are beautiful and the imagery stunning. This is essential viewing for lovers of Spanish cinema (there is a little bit of Pedro Almodovar in this), Science Fiction (some Inception like emotional moments) and people who just want to see a brilliant film. This is a must see movie even if you've seen the remake or are lucky enough to be coming to it completely fresh.
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on 12 August 2006
I studied this film as a case study for Film Studies at College and didnt think Id enjoy it one little bit. I'd never really looked in to foriegn films before, so watching a complicated Spanish piece like this was a tough indimidating.

I need not have worried, though.

Despite the tangled web of a story, it is fairly easy to follow throughout.

Eduardo Noriega is brilliant throughout as Cesar - the ultimatley troubled character at the centre of the story.

What really makes his film for me is Noriega's ability to make Cesar so twisted, confused and troubled, but yet manages to keep a spark of realism - meaning it isn't as difficult as it first seems to feel strongly for the character.

Penelope Cruz plays Sofia, the love interest, but not in a regular, Hollywood 'love interest' way. Cruz really shows her compatability to play slightly darker roles. Okay, so Sofia herself isn't dark, but her position within the film often is.

The story line in this film is fantastic, it looks in to some interesting corners of the human mind no one has really dared to examine before, and comes out with some great results.

Noriega and Cruz brilliantly use Alejandro Amenabar's directing - and the result is well worth watching.

So dont be scared off by the synopsis of the film, and by the fact it's Spanish. It's a real cracker, and, in my opinion, much, much better than it's Hollywood remake Vanilla Sky (although thats not, in itself, a bad film).
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on 3 January 2008
I really enjoy this original "the vanilla sky" that was being copied by the American film studio with their so-called A-list actors. This masterpiece really captured the essence of fear, oblivion, and all of that
"what if situations?"(is it real?is it just a dream?).It still scares me,
it thrills me till the very last scene.
Long after that,the film's core story still linger.It makes you feel uneasy but excited and definitely not a film that you could really put into any classes/genres.
I do think that Penelope Cruz should just stay in Spain or do more Spanish-speaking films(she was so talented in Volver),because Hollywood doesn't know how to treat people who have talent and that's why they keep on making remakes and forgettable comics'/cartoons' adaptations into films because to begin with,it's all just show bizniz for 'em over there, unlike the European films industry which keep on churning memorable, instant classics.
Buy or rent this.I don't care,as long as please spare a little of your time to watch this gem.The real diamond.
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on 2 November 2013
I have been a long term fan of vanilla sky, but when someone mentioned the original I was curious. All I can say really is vanilla sky is a virtual carbon copy of this movie. The power and emotion are just the same but somehow better. If you can cope with subtitles then this is a very good movie. If you can't just go for the Hollywood remake. Same thing.
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