Eyes Wide Shut

"Good"

Eyes Wide Shut Review


Despite all the tongue-wagging about philandering shrinksand other rumor mill jazz, "Eyes Wide Shut" turns out to notbe entirely about sex after all.

Instead its something even more shocking by Hollywood standards-- a complex and intimate study of a couple surviving a very big bump intheir marriage.

There is sex. Plenty of it. But more frequently there'salmost sex and fantasy sex when a small marital spat between a rich,handsome couple of nine years escalates into a confession that begets adownward spiral jealousy, obsession and, most of all, temptation.

Dr. Bill Hartford (Tom Cruise) and his wife Alice (NicoleKidman) are both beautiful, inherently sexy people, so temptation is nothingnew to them. This is established early on at a black tie party where twodelicious vixen models proposition Bill in tandem. With one of them oneach arm and his charm turned up full-blast, he's being lead upstairs whenhe's called away to a medical emergency. But the question lingers in theair: Would he have done it?

Meanwhile, Alice has had a little too much champagne andis dancing and flirting madly with -- scratch that, she's teasing-- a seductive, falsely sophisticated, let- me- take- you- away- from-all- this type Hungarian Lothario. She snaps out of it and remembers herselfjust as he's about to kiss her.

The next night buried feelings from seeing each other temptedat the party turn a tender and steamy bedtime scene into an argument thatshakes the foundation of their marriage.

"You wanted to f**k those models," Alice spitsangrily at her husband. He says he wouldn't have, and that he would trusther if the situation was reversed. Then she confesses a deeply buried fantasyabout another man, concluding that "I would have left for one nightwith him."

Why does she do this? To prove a point to her husband aboutwomen's sexual desires? To rattle his confidence in his hold on her? Whateverthe motivation, Bill suddenly goes from zero to 60 in about three seconds.He's consumed with jealousy.

But another medical emergency interrupts their conversation,leaving him seething green as he wanders Manhattan into the wee hours ofthe morning, envisioning his wife's fantasy infidelity and finding himselftested more than Job.

The mourning daughter of dead patient throws herself athim. A shop owner offers him a night with his teenage daughter (LeeleeSobieski) for a handful of cash. A fresh-faced, young hooker (Vinessa Shaw)propositions him and he finds himself sitting on her bed, unknotting histie before he thinks the better of it.

When he does get home, Alice wakes up and confesses shewas dreaming about her fantasy man again, making matters worse.

Stanley Kubrick's infamously obsessive-compulsive directionpays off with Cruise and Kidman, inspiring fully-fleshed and manifold performancesfrom his stars.

Cruise's character isn't nearly as comfortable with himselfas he tries to put across. He is often at a loss for words and has a habitof flashing his medical license, which he keeps in his wallet, like a badgewhen he trying to convince strangers of his sincerity on any topic -- asif he's saying, "Trust me, I'm a doctor."

He has very human flaws when it comes to temptation, andhe visibly, physically struggles in resisting the beautiful, easy womenput in his path.

Kidman's role as the wife is smaller but even more complex,and she proves here, once again, that she's a much better actress thanshe gets credit for. Her feelings of infidelity stem from her imagination,but they still weave a web of guilt and jealousy in her own mind.

Cruise and Kidman must have plumbed the depths of theirown relationship and their own true emotions to get at the heart of thiscouple's crisis. It feels so authentic one can't help but wonder if theeffects linger in their real lives.

But while this absorbing story about a successful marriagemanages to also be erotic, torrid and zealous, one of the few notable flawsin the movie is its most pivotal, controversial and sexual scene -- a graphicorgy (toned down slightly for an R rating) at which Bill is enticed, seducedand bodily threatened, in an attempt to add a thriller element to the film.

Overflowing with nude models in porcelain masks strikingsilly poses and mysterious men in Druid cloaks looking like something outof a cheap sci-fi movie, the scene is not only absurd and lacking the tensionit's intended to have (the chorus-of-monks incidental music doesn't helpeither) -- but after a while it's downright laughable, like a Playboy Channelcult film.

Regardless of the failure of that important scene, aftera four-decade career of groundbreaking genius, this final film from Kubrickis his most intimate and emotionally provoking. Directed with such precisionthat just a shot of Cruise walking down the street the night of the fightis exploding with tension, and every moment we share with Kidman and Cruisetogether feels deeply personal and voyeuristic. Its no coincidence Kubrickcast a famous married couple in the roles -- it aides that sense of voyeurismas the movie explores how the mind and the heart are connected.



Eyes Wide Shut

Facts and Figures

Run time: 159 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th July 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $162.1M

Budget: $65M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures, Hobby Films, Pole Star

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 97 Rotten: 28

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dr. William 'Bill' Harford, as Alice Harford, Madison Eginton as Helena Harford, Jackie Sawiris as Roz, as Victor Ziegler, Leslie Lowe as Illona Ziegler, Peter Benson as Bandleader, as Nick Nightingale, Michael Doven as Ziegler's Secretary, as Sandor Szavost, Julienne Davis as Amanda 'Mandy' Curran, as Marion Nathanson, as Domino, as Milich's Daughter, as Desk Clerk

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.