Abre los Ojos [DVD] [1997]

Artisan Entertainment's release of Alejandro Amenabar's surreal thriller Abre Los Ojos offers a passable presentation of this masterful psychological thriller, even if it does fall slightly short in terms of extras and a more insightful view into a film that certainly invites the closer inspection that the DVD format offers. Presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio (and enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions), the image is sharp and detailed, offering solid blacks, realistic skin tones, and no notable edge enhancement or artifacting. The rich greens of the park sequences, the darker images of Cesar's increasingly disturbing voyage, and the beautifully filmed dream sequences all shine on this format, offering a rich visual presentation that serves to draw the viewer into the increasingly bizarre story. Large, white subtitles are translated well, not overly intrusive, and easy to read with bold outlines. The audio presentation, unfortunately, leaves a little more to be desired in terms of effectiveness and creativity. The low and undistinguished Dolby Surround mix only makes one wonder what could have been accomplished with a more involving Dolby Digital or DTS audio scheme. With voices, music, and sound effects not fully utilizing directional effects and the full capabilities of the format, viewers are not as drawn into Cesar's disturbing experience as they may be if more attention had been focused on creating a more involving audio mix. Also sadly lacking is a director's audio commentary track. Amenabar has crafted a complex story of reality versus fantasy with many twists that also deals with many sensitive subjects such as personal perception and loss of identity. It's a shame that viewers are not offered the insight that would no doubt lay the grounds for a fascinating peek inside the director's motivations in regards to story and presentation. Production notes and a brief insert only serve to whet ones appetite for such insight, and though they are well presented, they only provide an exclamation to the disc's few shortcomings. The menu screen is a beautiful and easily navigable combination of the film's more seductive imagery and offers easy access to the disc's all-too-few special features. Though Artisan's disc's shortcomings are sometimes frustrating in light of what could have been, Abre Los Ojos was, at the time of the DVD's release, only a small foreign release by a relatively unknown talent. With the director gaining prominence and Hollywood momentum with The Others, and a big-budget remake starring Tom Cruise hitting theaters in late 2001, maybe Abre Los Ojos will get a more suitable DVD presentation somewhere down the road.
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Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

Special Features

  • 16:9 widescreen version
  • Spanish Dolby 2.0 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • Cast and crew information
  • Production notes
  • Digitally mastered
  • Scene access
  • Interactive menus


Open Your Eyes
The line between dreams and reality become increasingly blurred after a womanizing playboy is nearly killed by a jilted lover in Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar's masterful sophomore effort Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes). It would seem as if Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) has it all. Handsome, charming, and with money to burn, he can get any girl he wants, and usually does so on a nightly basis. Following a birthday party in which he chats up Sofia (Penelope Cruz), the date of his best friend Pelayo (Fele Martinez), Cesar is plunged headfirst into a nightmare world when jealous former lover Nuria (Najwa Nimri) swallows a handful of pills and sends her car careening into a cement wall with the terrified playboy as her hapless passenger. With his formerly strikingly handsome face now twisted into a hideous mass of scarred flesh, Cesar's ugly emotions are now externalized for all to see. Pining for a plastic-surgery miracle to return him to his former glory so that he can seek out Sofia and take a chance at real love, he is pleasantly surprised when the doctors make a breakthrough and Sofia accepts him back into her life. Although all seems perfect for the moment, the formerly soulless player finds that this is only the beginning of his increasingly disturbing journey. Why is Sofia changing appearance and turning into Nuria periodically? And why won't the police and his psychiatrist believe Cesar's desperate attempts to rationalize a world that is growing increasingly surreal? Could it have something to do with a doctor Cesar has seen on television who keeps appearing and attempting to help him out of his nightmare? Peeling away at the layers of his subconscious, Cesar begins to realize that reality is no more than a state of mind, and that in order to get his life back he may be forced to take unthinkable measures. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Eduardo Noriega
    Eduardo Noriega - Cesar
  • Chete Lera
    Chete Lera - Antonio
  • Najwa Nimri
    Najwa Nimri - Nuria
  • Gérard Barray
    Gérard Barray - Man on TV

Overall Customer Rating

100%of customers recommend this product.

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