Stanley Kubrick, 1999
Eyes Wide Shut is the final work of celebrated film director Stanley Kubrick. It is also an intriguing look at the realities of marriage.
Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) is one of the top doctors in New York City. His wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) is an out of work art curator. They are both pretty. They have a lovely seven year-old daughter named Helena (Madison Eginton). They are financially stable. But beneath the attractive façade is a marriage threatened by temptation, suspicion, and jealousy.
Bill retaliates after learning from his wife that she almost cheated on him once. He goes out on an escapade in the middle of the night, walks the streets of NYC along with the image of his wife making love with the naval officer she had a crush on (of course, it’s just all in his head).
Why would Bill retaliate when NOTHING really happened between his wife and that naval officer? An imagination out of jealousy and anger is all he got. And first of all, Alice shouldn’t have told Bill about her secret fantasy. (I blame it on the pot though.) I know that honesty is an important factor in marriage, but I believe that there are some things that are better left unsaid. The things that the main characters do add more enigma to the already puzzling film. Surreal, especially with those dream-like scenes. Kinda Buñuelesque.
Eyes Wide Shut is one the most obscure films I’ve ever seen. Some audiences might find the film obnoxiously graphic, slow, and profound. At first viewing, I found the film a bit slow and complex, maybe Kubrick meant for it to be that way. This is one of those films that gets better after second viewing. The scenes are well-placed.
The film is set in New York, but was actually filmed in England. It still looked like New York to me though. The cinematography is splendid. I especially liked the blue light illuminating Alice and Bill’s bedroom. The soundtrack is hypnotizing and parfait. I’ve always been fond of Kubrick’s choices of music in his films.
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman — still married — are almost perfect as a middle-class NYC couple facing the factors that can dismantle their marriage. Kidman gave a solid performance as the bored and (somehow) annoying Alice, but you hardly see her in the film. Her Alice character is almost like a backdrop to Cruise’s Bill. Eyes Wide Shut is definitely one of Cruise’s best performances.
Eyes Wide Shut is a perfect farewell from the genius himself.
Trailer for Eyes Wide Shut:
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