Movie Review: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

In the few short years that I have been studying film, I can safely say that Stanley Kubrick is my favorite director of all-time. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one that I consider his personal masterpiece and it is my own favorite. The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Dr. Strangelove are right behind that one. All in all, I had seen every movie Kubrick ever made, all but one; Eyes Wide Shut.

Upon finishing this movie earlier today, I’m really at a loss for words. There is a meaning of the film that is so apparently obvious, but if you are watching a Kubrick movie and actually understand it the first time, there is something wrong– it means, the true meaning went right over your head.

I will not pretend that I even have the slightest clue as to what Kubrick’s real intention was, but to explain the obvious story portrayed, it is a simple tale of spousal trust and infidelity. Nicole Kidman’s character tells her husband, played by Tom Cruise, that one time when they were on vacation, she thought about having an affair.

From there, a stunned Cruise walks all over New York City, where he encounters a prostitute, whom he leaves before allowing anything to happen, because he fells guilty. He then finds an old friend who is a piano player at a bar. This man, played by Todd Field, tells cruise of a clandestine meeting that he attends to play the piano for. Each time they meet, it is at a different location, and he must remain blindfolded at all times.

To not give away the entire scene, let’s just say that these “meetings” are basically orgies set up with hundreds of wealthy and important society people. However, Cruise’s character is uncovered and they kick him out with a warning to not speak about it to anyone. Within the next day, people involved start dying one by one, and Cruise continues to wander around the city.

That is essentially the plot of the movie, as Cruise has countless encounters with people who challenge his own faithfulness to his wife. The end of the movie is still something that seems obvious, but there is clearly an underlying meaning to it.

This was Stanley Kubrick’s final movie, as he died four days after presenting the final cut to Warner Brothers. I am glad that I final got a chance to see it, but overall, I really don’t know if I liked it or not. The film is well made, but I will have to watch it at least one more time to fully understand it, and at two hours and forty minutes, I don’t know how convenient that will be for me.

Perhaps the part I enjoyed the most was Kubrick’s use of music, of which he has superb taste in almost every film of us. The eerie music of Gyorgy Ligeti makes a third appearance in a Kubrick film, and this piece by Dmitri Shostakovich was very enjoyable, setting up the film nicely.

For my final rating, I will give it between a 7 and an 8. I wish I would have been able to understand what I will call the strangest movie I have seen to date. Had Kubrick not cared about censorship (like he didn’t for A Clockwork Orange, adding to how good the film was) and gone with an NC-17, or perhaps even pushing it with an X rating, it could have been better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.