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Open Your Eyes

Starring Eduardo Noriega, Penelope Cruz; Chete Lera
Screenplay by Mateo Gil and Alejandro Amenábar
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
website: www.openyoureyes-movie.com

In Spanish with subtitles.

Open Your Eyes was a box office hit its native Spain. It's subtitled on these shores which is probably enough to keep the teenagers away. For us old fogeys this is the story that The Matrix might have been, had you taken away the special effects and fighting sequences and concentrated on things like, oh, storytelling.

When we first meet young stud César (Eduardo Noriega), who is so good-looking that he is never seen with the same woman twice (it's a macho thing. Not an indication that he is completely inept with what luck he has, because he has a lot of it and a reputation to maintain). For example, the short haired lady in his bed is named Nuria (Najwa Nimri) which is about all he knows about her. Sofia (Penelope Cruz), the long haired lovely on his best friend Pelayo's (Fele Martinez) arm would be his next target except that would screw up their friendship.

Ah, the hell with friendship. This is macho Spain after all. So imagine what happens when our young handsome stud is lured into a car by the aforementioned Nuria, who is now stalking him. Deciding that life is not worth living without her stud boy, Nuria ploughs her subcompact into a wall, and dies. César lives, but his face is so scarred that he must wear a mask that makes him looks like Michael Myers, only with proper skin tone. From here on in studboy is left only with dreams of being restored to normal. When dreams get confused with reality, the dead come back to life and people start to die

Maybe. Maybe not.

Co-writer/Director Alejandro Amenábar says he wants to confuse the audience so that they would see this film twice. If so, he has failed, because the script is well written enough that there's no problem figuring out what's going on, once you make the assumption that César is out of his [expletive deleted] mind! In his post accident reality, he's been busted for a martyr; the scars on his face appear and disappear; Nuria isn't dead and the psychiatrist that is trying to help him looks remarkably like his father. Psychiatric students out there are free to comment. The rest of us can watch a mystery with SF nods to cryonics and virtual reality unfold.

Cranky stopped putting a dollar rating on foreign flicks, 'cuz most of you are either inclined or totally disinterested. In the case of Open Your Eyes, the film is Recommended.

At the core of every good movie is a story which keeps your attention. The better ones don't need computer effects and elaborate fight sequences to do so.


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