Brand : Tom Cruise

Eyes Wide Shut (R-Rated Edition)

A. warren |

The misunderstood masterpiece

The only reason i can think of that this dvd deserves 3.5 stars is the mpaa's mandate for the inclusion of digital figures to cover up the sex sequences, which can be seen "unadulterated" in the region 2 disc (but with different music, as the theatrical/region 1 dvd's music was found to be offensive to hindus, i believe). but otherwise, this movie is absolutely phenomenal. like the best of bergman, like welles' f for fake, like fellini's 8 1/2, this movie represents a story that is truly genre-less. how do you classify eyes wide shut? at kubrick's _worst_, his movies were some of the best out of their given genres. at his best, they are not only the best of the genre, but transcend it altogether (2001, barry lyndon, dr. stranglove...). other reviewers have already noted what is fantastic about this movie. the lightening is some of the best of kubrick's career. it holds both nicole kidman's and tom cruise's best performances of their careers. sydney pollack is fantastic. and the centerpiece, the orgy sequence, is quintessential kubrick. i think that this movie will be reevaluated in the future, and people will finally understand it for what it is. personally, i think that eyes wide shut is effectively a period piece. it is a period piece about the 1990s and the era of civilization we now find ourselves in, with the sexual freedoms and faults (and diseases) we now have to deal with. how else do you explain the nondescript "new york city"? how else do you explain the persistent presence of a christmas tree in _every damn scene_? it underscores the pervasive materialism at the heart of the 80s and 90s, which in turn underscores the kinds of sexuality and sexual inadequacies on display in this movie. it is a period piece about the 90s, it just happens to have been made in 90s as well. with his final film, kubrick managed to create a story that is free of any genre, free of baggage, free of any previous assumptions about what a film can do. it is not his best, but it might be his most fulfilling, and it sums up one of the most cynical, but also one of the greatest director's career with a tiny glimmer of modest - but realistic - hope.


The greatest filmaker of the 20th century...stanley kubrick.

One of the best films of the year. stanley kubrick delivers another masterpiece, and considering the options on the dvd release, i am sure no one wants to see it widescreen or in the unrated version before kubrick had to digitally alter it!

Joshua miller |

A work of brilliance

I saw eyes wide shut for the first time when i was 13 and was aware, even then, that i had just seen a masterpiece. stanley kubrick's final film, which he completed editing just four days before his death, was met with lukewarm praise like all of his earlier films yet eyes wide shut is arguably his most misunderstood masterpiece. unlike his earlier films, this one hasn't been re-accessed much over the years, but it has been embraced by many because of the spell it casts and six years after seeing it the first time i still found myself in awe of its brilliance. starring then-couple tom cruise and nicole kidman, the film opens brilliantly with a brief, elegant shot of nicole kidman disrobing. kidman plays alice harford, cruise plays bill harford. bill is a doctor; alice is a stay-at-home-mom to their seven-year-old daughter helena. the film opens with them attending a lavish christmas party held by one of bill's wealthier patients victor ziegler (the late sydney pollack). this scene doesn't set the tone, so much as the theme of the film. alice is hit on by a hungarian man, while bill is hit on by two beautiful women. bill's rendezvous is interrupted when ziegler needs his assistance with a girl who has od'd. later, after bill and alice have smoked a bit of weed, alice reveals to bill a sexual fantasy she once had about a naval officer. bill leaves home, consumed by jealousy and embarks on a psychosexual odyssey that leads him to a grief-stricken woman expressing her love for him, an encounter with a hooker, and a mysterious costume party. in typical kubrickian fashion, there is a cold detachment from the events. this is every frame a kubrick film. at 2 hours and 39 minutes, with long passages of little dialogue, eyes wide shut may be slow-moving to some but i find it quietly hypnotic, endlessly fascinating, and never dull. maintaining a dream-like feel, it gracefully draws you in and keeps a strong grasp throughout. there's a lot of mystery at the heart of eyes wide shut and the fact that it's so impenetrable makes it difficult for some viewers to digest, yet even at an age when i was too young to understand the themes running through it i was engulfed in it's elegant spell. kubrick was a master of atmosphere and, like most of his films; the atmosphere that hangs over this film exists only because of his unique style. there's not a film i can think of that engulfs me into the world it creates the same way. kubrick was an american who lived in london for the last several decades of his life and preferred to shoot his films there, substituting whatever setting his film required with london. eyes wide shut takes place in new york, but his london setting never really looks or feels like the new york we're accustomed to seeing in movies. some have pointed out kubrick's "new york" as one of the film's major flaws. i think this is one of the film's greatest accomplishments. as a filmgoer, the dream-like atmosphere is reinforced and more effective by my unwillingness to accept the setting as new york. 30+ woody allen films and i've never seen new york have a more dreamy quality to it. there are six people credited for production design, art direction, and set decoration and they all did a flawless job here. also flawless is the score by jocelyn pook, which incorporates previously composed music as well as original music and is an ominous, haunting, beautiful, and just marvelous score that stays with you long after the movie ends and is essential to the mood created throughout the film. there is striking imagery and austere camerawork throughout the film, and i don't just mean the nudity that's frequently on display. originally billed as an "erotic thriller" (which it's definitely not), there is much nudity but little eroticism. even the controversial scenes that warner brothers chose to block with computer-generated figures in order to secure an `r' rating aren't pornographic or arousing in any way. kubrick was not a director who filmed anything for gratuitous reasons. warner brothers rightfully restored these scenes to kubrick's original vision in the unrated release (which claims to have both versions, but actually has only one...which is fine, just odd). when discussing striking imagery, it's impossible to ignore the entire costume party sequence; a haunting, mysterious, and extraordinarily well-executed sequence as elegant as it is terrifying. this scene may perplex viewers, but it's a scene i haven't forgotten over the years and a scene only kubrick could have filmed so gracefully. had another director shot this scene it would have seemed too long, exploitive, gratuitous, and silly. kubrick made it a work of art. another favorite scene of mine is the scene at the costume shop, which is weirdly hilarious and memorable. featuring a very young leelee sobieski and mr. milich (rade sherbedgia), one of kubrick's most memorable minor characters, it's a scene that really puts kubrick's dark sense of humor on display. tom cruise gives one of his strongest, most quietly powerful performances with his then-marriage to kidman adding an additional dimension to their dynamic. bill harford may not be a fully fleshed-out character that gives cruise a lot to do, but he tackles this role with quiet menace. he plays much of the role with his facial expressions and his eyes, much as kidman plays much of her role with her body. it is kidman whose presence, seductive prowess, and body are responsible for some of the film's most well-known and identifiable shots. sydney pollack does some great work too as the malevolent ziegler, as does todd field (an accomplished director) as nick nightingale, whose actions bring bill into the dark underworld he ends up in. there is something new i discover and question each time i watch eyes wide shut, a film that only deepens my opinion that kubrick never had a "peak" as a director. even right before his death he was making a challenging, mesmerizing film that continues to be debated over just how good (or bad) it is. i personally can't comprehend the indifference that many have met this film with. it's such a marvelously textured film that i find more fascinating and more awe-inspiring with each viewing. kubrick was a director of infinite skill and talent, who ended his brilliant career on one of his greatest and most misunderstood films and whose death is still a crushing loss to film-lovers even twelve years later. while time hasn't been much kinder to this film's reception, i hope in the years to come it will be acknowledged as the terrific film it is. even the title eyes wide shut is so perfect, as your eyes must be wide shut to not appreciate this film for the tremendous work of art it is. grade: a