Eyes Wide Shut Movie Review

Mr. Kubrick would have been upset. I take that back. He would have been totally pissed. I'll get it out up front: Our screening was interrupted by a fire alarm, which sent the entire San Francisco press constituency outside for a full hour, and ultimately forced us to miss about five minutes of the movie, right in the middle, where it was getting juicy. Not to mention that whole digital alteration thing. Ugh.

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.

Those residents are Doctor Bill Hartford (Cruise) and his wife Alice (Kidman), who live a pretty good life in Manhattan. But when a friend's (Pollack) party gets a little kinky - just enough to stir up some long-hidden emotions - Alice confesses to a one-night stand that never actually happened... but which she desperately wanted to.

[] This sets Bill's mind in motion, sending him on something of an accidental journey through the bowels of NYC, from a brief visit with a hooker to a costume dealer who whores out his daughter to the biggest damn orgy you've ever seen. Or at least the biggest that I've ever seen.

All the while, Bill gets more and more convinced that his wife is depraved and wanton, which only fuels his desires even more. More than a journey of the eye through these lavish sets, Bill's is a journey inside the mind of the paranoid, and it gets him in a little too deep by the movie's end.

The movie isn't as raunchy as you might have heard. In fact, it almost seems tame except for the big orgy scene and a ton of naked Kidman shots. And no, Cruise does not wear a dress in the movie.

Eyes Wide Shut is a thrill to watch - if for no other reason than to try and guess who is an underground sexual deviant and who isn't (hint: everyone is, of course). It is chilling and delicious at the same time, and while the film is a bit obtuse, lacking the gripping/clever endings of the rest of Kubrick's repertoire, it's a fitting end to a brilliant career in the cinema.

Frankly, I want to see it again. Especially those lost five minutes. [Postscript: Of course, I did, and I still think EWS is a great capstone to Kubrick's magnificent career.]

Oddly, the DVD is presented in fullscreen format. Even more oddly, the disc says all over the place how it is presented in the format in which Kubrick intended. The mysteries never cease, do they?


georgejmyersjr's picture


The DVD "Blockbuster" "R" version was not as interesting. I read the script written by Stanley Kubrick (from the Bronx, NY where I am, recently a retrospect of his work, especially "2001: a Space Odyssey" is exhibited through the artifacts of the film, i.e., the space suit, the B&W Polaroids system he used to figure the color of scenes as they would appear later, etc.). Was the marijuana scene added or ad-libbed? It wasn't in the script I read, nor Alice on the bidet(?) with Dr. Tom in the room? As I recall. I may have to watch the "European" version first. He should have been able to make "A.I." first (which uses the same device, the boy robot comes into the bathroom while the woman is on the "throne"). Being a New Yorker, I thought the sets of a "Ulysses in Nigh town" a little flat, somewhat, unreal though the gate to the estate more than real for New York and today's America.

8 years 3 months ago
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georgejmyersjr's picture


The exhibit's in Germany not the Bronx, NY.

8 years 3 months ago
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mm's picture


very very good but I NEED DVD THIS FILM

5 years 9 months ago
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Eyes Wide Shut Rating

" Extraordinary "

Rating: R, 1999


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