Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2001. Paramount Pictures, Cruise/Wagner Productions, Vinyl Films, Sogecine, Summit Entertainment, Artisan Entertainment. Screenplay by Cameron Crowe, based on the film Abre Los Ojos by Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil. Cinematography by John Toll. Produced by Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner. Music by Nancy Wilson. Production Design by Catherine Hardwicke. Costume Design by Betsy Heimann. Film Editing by Joe Hutshing, Mark Livolsi.
Useless remake of Alejandro Amenabar’s terrifying Spanish thriller Open Your Eyes now has Tom Cruise as a rich and handsome young man whose face is disfigured after a jealous woman (Cameron Diaz) with whom he casually trysts from time to time crashes her car and kills herself with him in it. His new physical and emotional state threatens his burgeoning relationship with a beautiful dancer (Penelope Cruz, who played the same role in the original version) and long-standing relationship with his best friend (Jason Lee). Restorative plastic surgery soon brings him back to his old self and cures his problems with his two friends, but soon a problem enters the picture: Diaz is still hanging around haunting him. Did she fake her own death, or is he just imagining things? Soon things go places you will never expect them to, with every corner revealing a new surprise twist. Mostly this film fails because director Cameron Crowe has carbon-copied the entire plot from Amenabar’s original scene by scene, but has added uselessly long character-dialogue scenes (not to mention an overly lengthened opening) that don’t accomplish anything beyond the emotional impact that the first version featured, and actually dull the sharpened twists that made the original version so viscerally exciting. Viewers who have never seen Open Your Eyes will enjoy this one more because its clever concept will seem fresh, but those who know that the credit for everything smart and original actually belongs elsewhere will be bored by the slower pace and Cruise’s incredibly flat and boring performance (a disappointment considering Crowe was the one who directed his finest work in Jerry Maguire). Improvements in this version include Cruz in a better role than the original featured, Diaz doing a superb job of playing a deliciously demented woman, and a welcome cameo by the fabulous Tilda Swinton who does more with one scene than some actors do with an entire film. Other than that, and Nancy Wilson’s excellent score, the film is a giant bore.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Song (“Vanilla Sky”)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Cameron Diaz); Best Original Song (“Vanilla Sky”)
Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actress (Cameron Diaz)