Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Eyes Wide Shut

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Cast: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman

Synopsis: After smoking some real heavy pot, Nicole Kidman tells her husband that she had fantasies about another guy. He then goes to a sex club and a hooker winds up dead. Standard Friday night really.

This was Stanley Kubrick’s final film and, as far as things go, it’s an unusual addition to an otherwise diverse and powerful filmography. It’s not that this film is bad because it’s not. It’s well acted and the plot is interesting enough. The problem with Eyes Wide Shut is that it is fucking weird, and I don’t mean in a floating foetus 2001 kind of way. I mean in a creepy Venetian mask orgy kind of way.

Venetian Mask“I’ll suck your dick for a dollar!”

The film follows the lives of Dr Bill Harford and his wife, played by then real-life couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. They live the lives of typical rich people in New York: they have a lot of money but poor taste. Their apartment looks like Pottery Barn ejaculated all up inside it. Anyway, one night they go to a party and Nicole gets hit on by a creepy Hungarian guy and Tom helps some strung out hooker in the bedroom. A few days later, Nicole smokes a fat joint (like a really fat one…seriously, even I wouldn’t attempt it) and then starts wigging out and tells her husband women aren’t as loyal as he thinks as she had been having fantasies about some hunky naval officer she may or may not have met one day.

Confused and questioning his assumptions about his wife, Tom then meets a prozzie but they don’t do anything and then goes to a masked sex party after walking in on Leelee Sobieski getting down and dirty with a pair of Japanese businessmen. Sometimes I wonder what happened to her because she used to be everywhere. She even had a role in The Wicker Man. Clearly times are tough.

I feel that this movie was supposed to be shocking. After all, there is a lot of nudity and sex in it and it attempts to subvert the image of women as loyal lapdogs who uphold notions of fidelity and family. Do people really still assume these things though? I’ve never made these assumptions so the film’s central point felt a little obvious and dull. Maybe the film’s message was lost on me because I grew up in the age of the internet. Should the mood strike me, I can watch a video of two women eating each other’s poo or another one of a woman shoving an American football up her cooch. It comes as no surprise to me that women like sex.

The thing I found really funny about this movie, however, is that it’s blatantly a metaphor for Tom and Nicole’s marriage as it’s all about the good doctor coming to terms with his latent homosexuality. It’s not obvious about it but if you pay attention to the subtext you can figure it out. Notice, for instance, how he goes to a costume shop called “Rainbow” and how he is targeted by homophobes who say some really horrible things to him. Also, Alan Cumming makes a pretty epic cameo. In conclusion, this film is gayer than my love for JGL.

JGLGratuitous JGL shot…swoon

After watching this film I began thinking about Tom and Nicole’s marriage. Were the gay rumours before or after this film came out? I’m too young to remember but maybe Kubrick was such a brilliant filmmaker that he placed a subliminal message in our minds about Cruise’s sexuality. If so, then his final film is, in fact, one of the greatest film’s out there as it brainwashed its audience into thinking Cruise was gay which no-doubt led to the breakdown of his marriage. How many movies can say they have caused couples to divorce? OK, there was that Japanese couple who divorced because she loved Frozen and he didn’t but that couple clearly had issues.

High-lights:

  • The scene with the chanting and incense was mesmerising.
  • Is that Wayne Manor?
  • The homophobe scene was very real. This is what homophobia looks like and it’s awful.
  • Damn Nicole, you may be a skinny girl but you sure do love fat ones.

Downers:

  • Why would anyone have sex in Venetian masks…..they are creepy as hell.
  • Nobody laughs in their sleep like that. Seriously Nicole, time to give up the weed.
  • I swear Hungarians are not always that weird.
  • I do not need to see Nicole Kidman sit on the toilet.

Summary:

I’m not sure how I feel about this movie. I guess you could say that I was underwhelmed but I came into this movie expecting something in a par with 2001 or The Shining. It’s possible that I missed the point of this film entirely and maybe it’s the sort of thing you need to watch when you are at a certain point in your life. If you can tell me what point that is I would be very grateful.

5.5/10

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11 Comments

Filed under Drama, Meh, Thriller

11 responses to “Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

  1. This movie is nuts. But in the only way Kubrick can deliver on. Nice review.

    • Thanks. It certainly does have his trademark eccentricity. I feel like all of his film need to be watched while on some kind of substance. I’m not familiar with all his work though. Did he do anything a bit more mainstream?

  2. I’ve never seen this film. But now I really have to!

  3. I have to say the movie runs kinda long and didn’t make sense the first few times but what an epic movie it is! Loved your points at the end! Great review.

  4. Its a little too far ‘out there’ to be held up as a ‘great’ movie which is what everyone expects from Kubrick. My advice, watch it once, then forget it, (if you can).

  5. Everyone loves JGL, don’t they? Even those who aren’t even a bit bi?

    (Leelee took time off for college, then made some more movies, then took time off to have a kid, then made some more movies, and is currently preggers again.)

  6. I had mixed feelings about this movie. Many scenes were flat-out gorgeous… I remember the party toward the beginning with lots of lights that had blurry edges, stuff like that. And the mood of the scenes was filmed as just right. But the flow of the story was odd. Maybe too slow, I don’t know. The story didn’t move along as well as “The Shining” did. Maybe there wasn’t enough there in the story, or maybe I was too impatient for it to move faster. But I actually liked the big sex scene with the Venetian masks. Yeah, they looked awkward, but it was just so mysterious and erotic. I guess I liked several scenes of this movie, but looking at the movie as a whole, it was like Kubrick could’ve streamlined it a bit more.

    • You’re right, the shots at the party at the beginning were really beautiful. Kubrick knows how to take advantage of depth, angles, and lighting in his films to create different moods. A true master of the art.

      I think you’re right. I imagine it was cut down very little because of his death. Maybe it would have been a bit different had he lived a bit longer?

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