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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