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(Review originally written at 24 July 2005)

"Abre los ojos" is a nice delightful Spanish surprise. The movie has an highly good script that is well constructed and directed perfectly by Alejandro Amenábar. A true eye opener.

To be honest the movie was not always perfectly good. Maybe the beginning and especially the middle were dragging a bit too much at times, like more often is the case in European movies. However the last 30 minutes really make you forget the first and perhaps weaker 1 hour and 30 minutes. The ending is tense, mysterious and it keeps you guessing to the end what really is the truth. It really is 'edge-of-your-seat' stuff and perhaps even one of my favorite movie twists and ending.

The movie is very professionally made and in many ways looks like an Hollywood production. So why this movie was ever re-made as "Vanilla Sky"? I have really no idea, guess it was made for all of those who were too lazy to read the subtitles of "Abre los ojos". The directing by Alejandro Amenábar was one of the highlights of the movie. He creates a perfect atmosphere and knows how to build up the story and the characters perfectly. Also the musical score by Mariano Marín and Alejandro Amenábar himself was surprising good and suited the movie perfectly.

The movie can perhaps be described as a mix of "The Matrix" and "The Game" with a little flavor of "Total Recall". I don't mean by that, that this movie feels like a rip-off in any way, not in the slightest. Fans of any of those type of movies mentioned earlier, this movie is a must see for you!

The mostly unknown actors were also surprising good. Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz (who still was mostly unknown at the time, outside of Spain), Chete Lera and Fele Martínez all portray some most excellent characters with lots of profession.

Highly recommendable for everyone, even those who normally don't watch European movies.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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