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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Abre los ojos aka "Open Your Eyes" [Blu-ray]

 

(Alejandro Amenábar, 1997)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Canal+ España

Video: Sogepaq

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:59:06.166

Disc Size: 36,164,111,912 bytes

Feature Size: 33,756,512,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.93 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 3rd, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio Spanish 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio Spanish 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio Spanish 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Trailer (1:42)
• Interview (8:23
in Spanish)
• Storyboards (1:41)
• About the Music (1:34)
• Director Commentary (in Spanish)
• 3 Galleries
 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar executes this follow-up to his debut Tesis with the same kind of stylized flair and narrative twists. Open Your Eyes is a gothic tale of a young man's obsession(s). It incorporates elements of familiar myths and fairy tales—"Beauty and the Beast," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"—within the familiar framework of a psychological thriller to effect a taut and complicated portrayal of a man's descent into a nightmare realm. Cesar is living a storybook life of luxury and indulgence when he meets Nuria, a young woman who becomes infatuated with him. But Cesar is enraptured with Sofia, and so, despite a quick tryst, he tries to get rid of Nuria. Furious, Nuria attempts a deadly revenge, and although Cesar survives, his appearance changes drastically, along with his perceptions about life and the world. When he tries to seek remedies for his dilemma, Cesar finds himself caught between the past and the future, between consciousness and dream. Amenábar again displays remarkable talent in transforming a basically generic plot into an exploration of varied states of being. His cinematography acquires a darkly luscious, almost sensual feel to depict Cesar's cosmos. With fine performances from his cast and an engrossing, well-constructed story line, Amenábar entices us to explore the social nature of reality and relationships, how fragile existence really is, and even the nature of death and God. Alejandro Amenábar, Director Born in 1972, Alejandro Amenábar is Spanish and Chilean. He is the writer/director/producer of a short film, La cabeza (1991), and a short video, Himenóptero (1992), and acted as editor and composer for two short videos: Antes del beso (1993) and Soñé que mataba (1994). For the short video Luna (1995) and the feature film Tesis (Thesis) (1995), he was writer, director, producer, and composer. Tesis opened the Panorama section at the Berlin Film Festival in 1995 and won seven Spanish Goyas.

 

 

The Film:

You might think seeing is believing, but tell that to Amenábar, writer/director of this dazzling thriller, which toys with our perceptions to exquisitely torturous effect. Initially, it appears that playboy César (Noriega) has it all: money, looks, girls. One night at a party, however, eager to escape jealous Nuria (Nimri), he strikes up a conversation with Sofía (Cruz), and soon realises he's in love. After one chaste evening together, it all goes wrong: Nuria is waiting outside, offers a lift, then deliberately drives off the road. She's killed, but he survives with a face so horribly disfigured he needs a mask. His hopes of getting back together with Sofía seem slim, especially since he's now facing a possible murder charge. Will this nightmare never end? Actually, it's only just beginning, as Amenábar adds layers of information overload, altering the picture from noir-ish poser to latter-day Beauty and the Beast, and eventually to head spinning sci-fi mode. What holds us through the revelations are the sheer chutzpah with which Amenábar and his cast deliver them, the emotional imperative of the material and the fascinating way it touches on concepts of interior/exterior worth, personal responsibility and phenomenology. This is so smart, mischievous and stylish, you'll instantly want to see it again.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Amenabar does some exciting things here. The film's plot, without spoiling anything, follows Cesar, the film's lead, a womanizer that is currently involved with two women. Soon after spending the night and falling in love with one of them, his reality begins to become confused. During the film's first half, Cesar is our guide into his Lynchian dream world. The audience's confusions are shared and amplified by the protagonist. We feel our vision of reality sliding away with Cesar's. We go insane with him. When the film morphs however (in a scene where Cesar's friend tells him he's coming undone), and Amenabar all but reveals the reason behind the madness, our sympathies shift. We stay a step ahead of Cesar, allowing us to not only observe his psyche, but watch as Amenabar lectures us about the fragile level of reality that exists in any film. The way that he keeps us questioning what is real (even though we know nothing that we see in the film is real) is brilliant. At the end, we can not even be sure that the film's final fade-out returns us to reality.

Excerpt from MovieMartyr  located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

What a pleasant treat to have Alejandro Amenábar's excellent Open Your Eyes in an English-friendly Blu-ray out of Spain by Sogepaq. Of course, it was remade - with Penélope Cruz again - as a lesser film - by Cameron Crowe, Vanilla Sky. This 2-hour film is on a dual-layered disc, via 1080P - 24fps, with a supportive bitrate. The texture can be a bit clunky at times. It isn't glossy and shows some depth and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a strong replication of the theatrical appearance. It looks consistent and quite solid to me without being unnaturally exuberant. This Blu-ray has a film-like sense to it. Visually I was pleased with the presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Sogepaq gives the option of 16-bit linear PCM tracks in either 2.0 channel stereo or 5.1 surround - in the original Spanish language. There are some auto and bar-related effects that separate but notable is the uplifting score by Amenábar (his own The Others) collaborating with Mariano Marín (as he has did with his Tesis.) It sounds excellent. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

Unfortunately, the extras are not English-friendly with a director commentary, a trailer, some interviews but a couple of pieces that don't require translation - a short video showing the storyboards and another listing the music plus 3 image galleries.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Open Your Eyes is a brilliant and memorable film. One you can revisit multiple times over the years. I'm very happy to have this in 1080P. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this as my respect for Amenábar seems to grow. I enjoyed Vanilla Sky but I thought this was a better film experience.  Yes, we can easily recommend this Blu-ray.

Gary Tooze

February 17th, 2016

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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