Mar 122005

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.

Directed by
Stanley Kubrick

Thriller, Drama, Mystery

Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Madison Eginton, Jackie Sawiris, Sydney Pollack, Leslie Lowe, Peter Benson, Todd Field, Michael Doven, Sky Dumont, Louise J. Taylor, Stewart Thorndike, Randall Paul, Julienne Davis, Lisa Leone

I really can’t begin to comment about everything in this film, so I won’t try…Instead I will jot down some observations, and things that I caught in my initial viewing.

I was impressed from the beginning scene, as the camera “waltzed” from shot to shot, back and forth from Cruise and Kidman, as they prepare from a night out on the town, classic Kubrick. I do not think any director has successfully merged each shot and sound better then Kubrick has throughout his career (example 2001 and Thus Spake Zarathustra), and Eyes Wide Shut is no exception, with a piano note that made the theater nervous and uneasy. This seamless combination of film, audio and mood is a technical masterpiece.

Another brilliant thing about Kubrick’s movies is that they rarely contain a definitive point, leaving interpretation open to the viewer. The following are some of mine, but in no way, may be close to yours or anyone else.

Eyes Wide Shut is not an erotic film; rather it is a film about the seeming chaos within each of us, with eroticism and more importantly sex being one of the faces of this chaos. It is one of the things within us, that make us both nobler and at the same time crueler then any other creature, it is what separates us. I feel that with Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley explores this in the same manner that he explored violence in Clockwork Orange.

However he does not condemn the subject matter of this film, rather he presents the havoc it can cause on people who are struggling to comprehend its presence within their lives.

With the characters Bill and Alice, Kubrick provides two different sides of the spectrum with Bill and Alice (Cruise and Kidman) Bill represents someone who has embraced it, but is blinded by it, he pursues it with the zeal of a hedonist, but he is lost, he does not understand WHY he is acting in the way that he does.

In Contrast, Alice has never acted out, Kidman’s character is more aware of the confusion within her, and her dreams, but seems afraid of what is going on, hiding and repressing what is within her, she keeps it locked inside while she is awake, but it haunts her at night.

At the beginning of the film, neither character is successful, again Kubrick does not give credit to either side, rather he discredits them, since the key is not the decision to act or not, but rather to try to understand and act honestly, something I think that both Alice and Bill begin to do throughout the film.

It shows how lost we can be within the transitory parts of our lives. If I find any true comment Kubrick has on the film, it is that sex and eroticism is destructive when it is lost within the transitory, but cannot be condemned when it rests on the foundation of the unconditional values of awareness and honesty. That without them, we will find ourselves lost within this one face of our inexplicable humanity, just as lost as we can be when faced with the violence, cruelty, and absurdity that is equally embedded inside of us.

I agree with a friend of mine, that for Kubrick, this film ends on a fairly positive note. In many of his films, by the time he is finished descending into the chaos, the pieces are too far and scattered to end with any closure. Reality does fall apart in the film as it progresses, but things tend to fall together, magically forming a better order, out of the broken pieces of the past.

Go see the film for yourself, ignore what you have heard, whether it be positive or negative, and as the lights dim, try to open your eyes and mind as much as is humanly possible, and see what the film does to you, and what it makes you think about. I think that is all Kubrick wanted to achieve, to give us a moment or pause and think, even if he has to shock you into doing it. Oh! And have fun finding the Christmas tree in every scene.

An amazing film that should be nominated for multiple categories in next years Oscars.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10)

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