Cameron Crowe didn't come up with the idea of a man seriously disfigured in a car crash who suffers a post-traumatic world rife with confusion and unanticipated horror. Before Vanilla Sky there was Abre los ojos, otherwise known as Open Your Eyes. The film was made by Alejandro Amenábar -- the skilled filmmaker who went on to offer up The Others in 2001, The Sea Inside a few years after that, and finally 2009-2010's record-breaking epic, Agora -- and his original offers a wholly different, yet utterly similar world.

The film focuses on a rich and handsome womanizer named Cesar (Eduardo Noriega), who lives off his parent's fortune after their passing. But one night things change. His friend (not as lucky with the ladies) shows up with a beautiful woman named Sofia (Penelope Cruz), and Cesar quickly falls in love and steals Sofia for himself. For an all-too-brief period of time, he is blissful, until his last affair comes knocking. With him in the car, she commits suicide by driving into a wall, which leaves Cesar disfigured, a ghost of his former self as he deals with the accident, his new life, and the potential to rebuild the past.
What's so interesting about this duo of films is how both deal with such a specific premise, yet play out as features that can each be enjoyed for different reasons, even with Cruz starring in both. Amenábar's spin is less Hollywood stylish, choosing to exist in a dark and haunting world rather than Crowe's usual music-fueled landscape. It's a world that lets the film exist on its own while also allowing Vanilla Sky to thrive as an interesting adaptive twist, as if these films followed a simple story seen many times over, and not something so distinctly unique.

This is an excellent film to be offered for free, so I'll stop writing and just suggest that you...

Head over to SlashControl and watch Abre los ojos/Open Your Eyes for yourself.
categories Features, Cinematical