Open Your Eyes (1997 film)

Open Your Eyes (1997 film)
Open Your Eyes

Theatrical poster
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Produced by Fernando Bovaira
José Luis Cuerda
Written by Alejandro Amenábar
Mateo Gil
Starring Eduardo Noriega
Penélope Cruz
Chete Lera
Najwa Nimri
Music by Alejandro Amenábar
Mariano Marín
Studio Redbus Film Distribution
Distributed by Live Entertainment
Release date(s) December 19, 1997 (1997-12-19)
Running time 117 minutes
Country Spain
Language Spanish
Budget ESP 370 million

Abre los ojos (English: Open Your Eyes) is a 1997 Spanish film directed by Alejandro Amenábar which was written by himself and Mateo Gil. It stars Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz, Fele Martínez and Najwa Nimri. In 2002, Open Your Eyes was ranked #84 in the Top 100 Sci-Fi List by the Online Film Critics Society.[1]



From a prison cell in Madrid, César (Eduardo Noriega), a 25-year-old in a prosthetic mask, tells his story to psychiatrist Antonio (Chete Lera). Flashbacks reveal the following events: good-looking César is attractive to women. At his birthday party, he flirts with Sofía (Penélope Cruz), the girlfriend of his best friend Pelayo (Fele Martínez). Later on, he takes her home and stays the night, although they don't sleep together. The next morning, César's obsessive ex-lover Nuria (Najwa Nimri) pulls up outside Sofia's flat and when she spots César leaving in the morning, she offers him a ride back to her apartment to have sex. On the way there, however, she intentionally crashes the car, committing suicide, and César is horribly disfigured, beyond the help of cosmetic surgery. Sofía can't bear to see him like this and goes back to Pelayo.

After César's disfigurement, he begins to have a series of disorienting experiences. Drunk, César falls asleep in the street. On awakening, everything has changed: Sofía now claims to love him and the surgeons restore his lost looks. But as he makes love to Sofía one night, she apparently changes into Nuria. Horrified, César smothers her with a pillow, yet finds everyone else believes Nuria was indeed the woman everyone else calls Sofía.

While he is confined to the prison, fragments of his past return to him as if in a dream. It is gradually revealed that, shortly after his disfigurement, César contracted with Life Extension, a company specializing in cryonics, to be cryogenically preserved and to experience extremely lucid and lifelike virtual reality dreams. Returning to their headquarters, under supervision by prison officers, he discovers they specialise in cryonics with a twist: "artificial perception" or the provision of a fantasy based on the past to clients who are reborn in the future. He had committed suicide at home after sleeping drunk on the street, and was placed in cryonic suspension. His experiences from about the midpoint of the movie onward have been a dream, spliced retroactively into his actual life and replacing his true memories. At the end of the film he elects to wake up and be resurrected. Convinced his life since the drunken night in the street is simply a nightmarish vision created by Life Extension, César leaps from the roof of the company's high-rise headquarters, resolving to open his eyes once more to real life outside the cryonic fantasy.



Critical reaction to Open Your Eyes has been mostly positive. James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three and a half stars (out of four), saying that movies "of this intelligence, audacity, and complexity come along so rarely that it's mandatory to cry out their arrival" and that "those who see it will not quickly forget the experience."[2] Rob Blackwelder of SplicedWire gave the film four stars (out of four), calling it "a jaw-dropping psychological thriller" that's "beautifully orchestrated."[3] Richard Scheib of The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review also gave Open Your Eyes four stars, calling it "quite a remarkable film."[4] Holly E. Ordway of DVD Active said, "I don’t give out “perfect 10” ratings lightly, but Open Your Eyes earns one by all accounts."[5] Aaron Beierle of DVD Talk gave a lukewarm review, saying that he "found most of Open Your Eyes interesting" but remarked that "there's something about the picture that kept me from being completely involved."[6]

Other media

Director Cameron Crowe's film Vanilla Sky (2001), is a remake of Open Your Eyes. It stars Tom Cruise in the lead role (renamed David Aames), Penélope Cruz reprising her role as Sofia, Cameron Diaz as the girl who disfigures David (renamed Julianna Gianni), Jason Lee as the friend (renamed Brian Shelby), and Kurt Russell as the psychiatrist (renamed Curtis McCabe). The film also transplants the action from Madrid to New York. The film follows the original plot very closely but makes several changes to the ending.


  • Vol. #1
  1. "Glamour" - Amphetamine Discharge (6:03)
  2. "Risingson" - Massive Attack (5:29)
  3. "El detonador EMX-3" - Chucho (5:17)
  4. "How do" - Sneaker Pimps (5:04)
  5. "Sick of you" - Onion (4:28)
  6. "T-sebo" - Side Effects (5:44)
  7. "Flying away" - Smoke City (3:50)
  8. "Arrecife" - Los Coronas (3:11)
  9. "Yo mismo" - If (3:37)
  10. "Tremble (goes the night)" - The Walkabouts (5:02)
  11. "El detonador remix" – Chucho / Side Effects (5:01)
  • Vol. #2 (Instrumental)
  1. "Abre los ojos" (2:28)
  2. "Sofía" (1:12)
  3. "Soñar es una mierda" (1:04)
  4. "La operación" (1:33)
  5. "¿Dónde está Sofía?" (0:54)
  6. "El parque" (3:08)
  7. "Hipnosis" (2:20)
  8. "Quítate la careta" (2:56)
  9. "Eres mi mejor amigo" (2:41)
  10. "La única explicación" (2:05)
  11. "Quiero verte" (6:38)
  12. "Esa sonrisa" (0:53)
  13. "Deja vu" (1:51)
  14. "Excarcelación" (4:28)
  15. "La vida" (1:46)
  16. "La azotea" (5:21)
  17. "Créditos finales" (3:31)

See also


  1. ^ Top 100 Sci-Fi List, Online Film Critics Society
  2. ^ Open Your Eyes review, James Berardinelli, ReelViews
  3. ^ Open Your Eyes review, Rob Blackwelder, SplicedWire
  4. ^ Open Your Eyes review, Richard Scheib, The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review
  5. ^ Open Your Eyes review, Holly E. Ordway, DVD Active
  6. ^ Open Your Eyes review, Aaron Beierle, DVD Talk

External links

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