Projections - Movie Reviews

Eyes Wide Shut

As one of the most closely graded scripts in recent memory, the late Stanley Kubrick's last film is a psychological drama, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Casting married actors to play a married couple who pursue their sexual fantasies adds a decisive, edgy quality to the film.

Cruise plays medical doctor Bill Harford and Kidman plays his wife Alice. As the film begins, they are dressing for a holiday party at a patient's (Sidney Pollack) exquisite mansion.

Once there, Alice dances with an attractive man who tries to entice her to an upstairs bedroom.  She flirts with the stranger while two models attach themselves to her husband.

After the party, Alice and Bill argue because he's not jealous by the attention she received.  So, she tells him of a recurring fantasy of hers involving a handsome naval officer.

His initial reaction is indifference, but Bill can't get the image of his wife with another man out of his head, and it appears to be the motive for the balance of his actions.

He spends the rest of the film looking for something that he's not quite sure of.  One of the most bizarre sequences takes place at a secret orgy that Bill sneaks into.  With his identity hidden behind a mask, along with the other party-goers, he witnesses things then later questions their reality. Was it a dream or a nightmare?

Kubrick co-wrote the screenplay adapted from a story by Arthur Schnitzer published in 1926.  He tells an interesting story, however at a running time of two hours and forty minutes, it's too long.  Difficult as it seems, this film about obsession, jealousy and sex is a bit boring.

The musical score made up of piano plunking by Jocelyn Pook is used so often, it becomes annoying.  Meant to be jolting, it's stabbing sound overtakes the action on screen.

Cruise and Kidman give compelling performances, but the story which is supposed to shock and prick our senses, left me feeling like a voyeur, intruding on this couple's very personal lives.

Although well acted and interestingly photographed, I can't really recommend the film.  I can however, guarantee one thing - if you see it, you'll be talking about it all the way home!

Eyes Wide Shut


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