That aside, this is one hell of a movie. A somewhat bizarre cross between A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut is the work of a meticulous craftsman -- a luscious and rich odyssey through the streets of New York, and into the minds of a couple of its residents.
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Darling exposes the jet-set high society of the mid-'60s with the cynicism and detail of a muckraking documentary. Antonioni and Fellini explored the same milieu, but writer Frederic Raphael is a much sharper and subtler satirist than either. (Raphael is also responsible for Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, and Darling's influence on that film is easy to spot). Raphael's script effectively surveys a gallery of posers -- vapid trendsetters, journalists and fashionistas, pretentious artists, and even minor royalty (Diana marries an Italian prince). Though the film drags in a few places, John Schlesinger's direction is generally excellent.
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