An imprisoned man hides his face behind a mask is telling his story, as a flashback, to a psychiatrist: his name is César, he is an orphan but he had inherited a fortune from his parents, and he used to live in a luxurious house of his his own. He was also very handsome and a renowned womanizer. His best friend, Pelayo, was jealous of César because he was not very successful with women. But one night, Pelayo showed up in one of César’s parties with a beautiful woman named Sofía. When César met her and talked to her for a while, he began to feel something he had never felt before: love. And, although she was supposed to be Pelayo’s girlfriend, he tried to woo her, spending that night at her home. But Nuria, with whom César had his last affair, was very jealous; she went to pick him up in her car the next morning, and committed suicide by crashing into a wall. César survived the crash, but his face was hideously disfigured, his handsome looks gone. Doctors said they couldn’t help him. He was very depressed and still in love with Sofía. One night he went out with her and Pelayo, and he felt that they were very uncomfortable with his presence. But the morning after, his luck seemed to change completely: Sofía came to him, saying that it was he whom she really loved, and the doctors called him and told him that, with a revolutionary new technique, they could rebuild his face, which they did. César was happier than ever, but that’s when the really strange and scary things started to happen…and César found out that the real nightmare had only just began for him. —IMDb
Raised in Spain after his Chile-based parents fled the country shortly before the 1973 right-wing coup d’état, Amenábar decided to be a filmmaker early on, heading to Madrid’s Complutense University to study cinema. Undeterred after his professors flunked him, Amenábar learned the craft firsthand on low-budget productions. Backed by a producer and star he met during his “apprenticeship,” Amenábar burst onto the Spanish film scene at the ripe old age of 23 as writer/director and composer with his first feature, Tesis (1996). A moody mystery involving a cinema graduate student and snuff films, Tesis was shown at the Berlin Film Festival and earned several Spanish Academy Awards. Amenábar then scored an even bigger hit with his next film, Open Your Eyes (1997). A complex psychological thriller about a womanizing egotist who is disfigured in an accident, Open Your Eyes became a blockbuster in Spain, bringing Amenábar his first international distribution and a Sundance Film Festival berth… read more
The best Philip K. Dick movie adaptation ever made. Amenabar's magnum opus is a treat for the mind and the senses. Fabulous shoegaze soundtrack as well. It is a time capsule of one of the many facets of the 90s, as well as a timeless piece on desires, destiny, drugs and dreams. The movie's script is probably its greatest attribute. It is a pity that Amenabar's later efforts , except for "Mar adentro", didn't connect to the viewer in the same way. We all have come across a film that has been the one which got us into watching movies on a broader scale; for me, "Abre los ojos" is that film.
This is a ravishingly beautiful and emotional film. Amenabar's style reminds me of the poetic pulp of Jacques Tourneur. He's an ambitious director, and he fully succeeds here. His visual sensibilities are perfect, the camerawork, the colors, and his sense of composition. The actors invest the viewer emotionally, and it's difficult not to tear up. Humanistic sci-fi.