Saturday, October 10, 2020

1122. Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

This entry marks a milestone for me, as there are currently 1222 movies on the List across all editions. Of course, the new edition is apparently coming out soon (the rumor is October 22) so that number will be getting bumped up shortly. But for now, only 100 to go!

This is one of three movies Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise did together where we have to pretend they're roughly the same height. We actually had to watch Far and Away in my high school history class, because I guess teenagers need to be exposed to bad movie accents as early as possible. I definitely agree with the Listmakers that this is the only noteworthy film of the bunch, which is a shame, because they do have good chemistry.

Dr. Bill Harford and his wife Alice attend a Christmas party together in New York City. Two women attempt to seduce Bill, and an old Hungarian tries to seduce Alice. Some time after the party, they discuss fidelity in their marriage. In short, Bill thinks it's in a woman's nature to be faithful and not think about sex very much. Alice corrects him ("if you men only knew...") and explains she contemplated leaving him and their daughter for a naval officer she spotted on vacation, even if he only wanted her for one night. This prompts Bill to explore his own sexuality more, by visiting a prostitute and attending orgies (give a man an inch...).

I chose this one as a Halloween watch because it is a deeply unsettling movie, and not just because Tom Cruise is a member of a dangerous cult. It's almost like Kubrick was elaborating on that one bizarre scene in The Shining, where the man in the dog costume is pleasuring a guy in a tuxedo. 

Visually, it was a very striking movie that never quite delivered on what the growing tension promised. Maybe that was the point, to transfer the frustration of unfulfilled temptation from its characters to its audience. In this way, it succeeded.

Perhaps not the masterpiece of his career, but still a worthy finale. Don't know if it was worth Cruise giving himself an ulcer over, but good nonetheless.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Stanley Kubrick died just four days after presenting the final cut to Warner Bros.

Due to Kubrick's fear of flying, the entire film was shot in England.

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise spent such a long time in England filming this that their children developed British accents.


  1. I have the feeling that I have, in the past, defended Kubrick films from you ...

    But this one, I don't know why, I just didn't seem to get into.. and ended up rather bored.
    Perhaps I just couldn't sympathise or relate to all those excessively good looking and offensively rich people getting more sex than I do..

  2. Yeah, aren't you the one who does not like Kubrick? I am with Ray that this is one of his weakest film. Secret swinger parties?
    But good point on Cruise being a cultist.

  3. Guys, I finally liked Kubrick and now you're turning on me! Actually, there are several I've enjoyed over the years: Barry Lyndon, Lolita, The Shining, and Spartacus.