Film (2001). Paramount pictures presents a Cruise-Wagner/Vinyl Films production in association with Sogecine/Summit Entertainment/Artisan Entertainment. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe. Based on Abre Los Ojos (1997) by Alejandro Amenábar & Mateo Gil. Cast includes Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Jason Lee, Kurt Russell, Timothy Spall and Noah Taylor. 136 minutes. Colour.
A playboy's world comes apart at the seams following facial disfigurement in a discarded girlfriend's suicidal revenge car crash; a series of slippages in reality and Identity are eventually explained as the result of Cryonic suspension in a Virtual Reality.
Almenábar's interesting but unwieldy original is followed with perversely virtuosic fidelity in this New York-set remake, which unsuccessfully attempts to repair the many absurdities of its source with glossily upscaled casting and production values, abetted by Crowe's ostentatiously polished dialogue writing and a somewhat intrusive jukebox soundtrack. Nevertheless, the film has one iconic legacy in its expensively undigital opening dream sequence of a deserted Times Square, and Cruise, whose pet project this was, allows his image and persona to be provocatively deconstructed in a Paranoid story of Conceptual Breakthrough that invites reading as a parable of Scientology; while the ending is a little more ambiguous than the Spanish version about whether the explanation by Taylor's character is indeed to be taken on trust. [NL]
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