Alejandro Amenabar weaves together a complex sci-fi romance with this audacious drama. Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) is a handsome and successful man, but feels completely different once he meets Sofia (Penelope Cruz), who captivates him with her beauty and sensibility. However, just at the beginning of their relationship, Cesar’s ex-lover harms and disfigures him in a car crash. Does Sofia still love him? Nothing is what it seems in this psychological journey.
Amenabar’s film was famously remade by Cameron Crowe with 2001’s Vanilla Sky (recasting Cruz in the Sofia role), but the original is a dynamic classic full of ideas, philosophies, and haunting imagery. It marked the beginning of Cruz’s successful career, but few films in any of its protagonists’ careers are as dazzling as this bravura pleasure.