Dir: Alejandro Amenábar, 1997
Amenábar's 1997 thriller is an interesting thing. It won critical plaudits, international success and a big-budget Hollywood remake for pulling off what seems to me the rather sneaky trick of being a derivative third-rate sci-fi flick that doesn't actually mention the fact that it's a sci-fi flick until you're halfway through the third act. By which point you've already seen Penelope Cruz's breasts and are understandably powerless to change the channel. Now I ask you, is that fair? There you are, innocently watching what seems to be a run-of-the-mill European arthouse film dealing with themes of identity, memory and sexual obsession, when seventy-five minutes in and it suddenly becomes apparent that no, in fact you're watching fucking 'Total Recall'. I don't know about you, but I call that a bit mean. It's a very disconcerting thing for the audience. I mean, imagine you're watching 'Iris', and in the final ten minutes it's suddenly revealed out of nowhere that Judi Dench is in fact an evil android from the future, programmed with false memories and sent back in time on a mission to kill the young Kate Winslet before she can write 'The Waves'. Ask yourself: would that have made 'Iris' a better film? Well, yeah, of course it would. That was a bad example. In fact, the addition of some killer androids is the only thing I can think of that would make 'Iris' even halfway watchable. Fucking piece of shit that it was. Still, you take my point.
Actually, I quite liked 'Open your eyes'. Just felt like a bit of a rant.