Abre los ojos

Dreams can turn into nightmares, while seemingly perfect lives can take a 180-degree turn. Do you sleep? Or do you open your eyes?

Abre Los Ojos.

Here’s the original to Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky. Plot-wise, there isn’t much difference between the two. But what Abre Los Ojos had done successfully, Vanilla Sky wasn’t able to replicate.

This Spanish film written and directed by Alejandro Amenabar is a fusion of romance, drama, mystery, and science fiction. It tells the story of Cesar, a very rich and very handsome young man who had a perfect life. On top of that, he was about to experience the feeling of being in-love the night he met Sofia. But as fate would have it, he got into a major car crash the morning after when  Nuria, his obsessed ex-fling upset by his relationship with Sofia, drove the car off the road. Nuria dies and his face disfigured beyond repair. Needless to say, his life drastically changed after that…

It’s just too bad that like most people, I had seen Vanilla Sky first before this. Much as I love Cameron Crowe,  his version, although faithful to the original script, failed to achieve the impact it was supposed to make. Abre Los Ojos fuses together the different aspects of the film seamlessly especially during the parts where the main twist was unraveling. I didn’t feel that the rug was being pulled out from under me as everything was explained. The narrative provides enough build up for that, at a comfortable pace so that the audience wouldn’t find the outcome of the story too weird. Amenabar employs a masterful technique for revealing things, the same way he did in The Others.

Twisted and interesting. This film makes one reflect about existence and choices.

Plus, Noriega the actor who plays Cesar, is way more handsome and did a much better performance than Tom Cruise. So if you haven’t seen Vanilla Sky, ditch the idea of seeing it and just stick with this original.

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