Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

5 STARS

General Information:

The information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120663/

18  159 min  –  Drama | Mystery | Thriller   –  10 September 1999 (UK)

Director

Stanley Kubrick

Writors

Stanley Kubrick; Frederic Raphael

Stars

Tom Cruise; Nicole Kidman; Todd Field   

Plot:

Bill (Cruise) and Alice Harford (Kidman) appear to be a happily married couple, however their veneer of being in a ‘happy marriage’ is stripped away when Alice reveals all to Bill about how she almost cheated on him.

Review:

The main criticism that most people pin-point onto Eyes Wide Shut is the fact that none of it could actually happen, which seems odd considering the fact that films are supposed to take us to places that we would never ever go to. Most of Kubrick’s films involve this style: blending the real with the imaginary – yet, perhaps, this is because Kubrick explored the unconscious, our inner feelings, our primal, instinctual emotions. A Clockwork Orange explores the primal instinct of violence, and Eyes Wide Shut explores the primal feelings of lust and the fantasies that go with it. The film builds up and up to a surreal occult orgy, held in a mansion. My point being that even though the chances of an orgy actually occurring are second to none, Eyes Wide Shut involves it – not just as a plot element – but to explore Bill’s (and perhaps, Alice’s) deep, hidden fantasies, that are so deep, that they are locked and stored away in the back of their minds. In their unconscious.

Eyes Wide Shut is an intriguing film which not only explores lust, but also explores basic human emotions such as: obsession and anxiety. After Alice reveals all to Bill, the phone rings, and Bill is asked if he can visit the relative of a dead patient of his. As he is in the car going towards the patient’s house, his mind whizzes, and we are dragged into the hell-pit that is Bill’s mind: his thoughts are racing and his anxiety builds up and up; as we see that Bill is imagining that Alice is having sex with a stranger. The first time we see what Bill is thinking, Alice is just kissing the naval officer, yet as the film progresses, it builds up to Alice having full-blown sex with the stranger. 

After Bill has visited the dead patient’s wife, instead of returning home to Alice, he goes on an all night sexual odyssey, Bill is taking revenge. As Bill drifts around New York he has various encounters. He visits a prostitute, a clothes store, and as the film progresses he manages to get into an occult, underground orgy. Bill, is perhaps overreacting, yet, the film is a dream, the film explores Bill’s inner sexual thoughts, and the reason why he goes on this night-long sexual odyssey is because his mind is exacerbating the situation into something that it isn’t.

The film is fairly long as it is just over two hours, however, it is never dull. As I watching it I was intrigued, and I never knew what would happen next, as Kubrick takes us on Bill’s odyssey where various unexpected hairpin turns occur. Eyes Wide Shut is a film which explores sex, but isn’t sexy, it is of course a Kubrick film, each frame being cold and icy as ever, yet still intriguing. The orgy sequence is ritualistic, and mechanical, the camera glides past from one room to the other to produce cinema which is haunting, disturbing and hypnotic, all at the same time.

Eyes Wide Shut is a fascinating exploration of human sexuality, love, sex, obsession, desire, anxiety, and of course: relationships.

Verdict:

This is one for die-hard Kubrick fans, yet some who are willing to sit through a 2 hour surreal commentary on sex and relationships and like to think about films may find this an intriguing watch. Eyes Wide Shut is neither sexy or erotic, yet it is: creepy, disturbing, and at points, haunting. A masterpiece.

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