HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
   
 
  Eyes Wide Shut High FidelityBuy this film here.
Year: 1999
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Rade Serbedzija, Alan Cumming, Sky Dumont, Todd Field, Leelee Sobieski, Vinessa Shaw, Fay Masterson, Julienne Davis, Louise J.Taylor, Stewart Thorndike, Leon Vitali, Abigail Good, Angus MacInnes, Thomas Gibson
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack) is holding one of his grand parties tonight and once again Dr Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) and his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) are invited. What with Christmas approaching, it is to be a seasonal occasion, but after the Harfords greet the Zieglers and are dancing in the ballroom together, Alice wonders aloud exactly why they always get invited to these things when they don't know anybody there. They split up to do a little mingling and Alice begins to get tipsy on champagne, ending up dancing with an older Hungarian gentleman (Sky Dumont) who attempts to seduce her. Even drunk, she's far too marrried to take him up on his suggestion, but the thought of it threatens to divide Alice from Bill - and worse...

Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's final film was this chilly relationships drama which halfway through transformed into an austere thriller where tension was noticeably lacking. Scripting with Fredric Raphael, this was his adaptation of a novel from the early twentieth century by Arthur Schnitzler which curiously attempted to find a universality in attitudes from decades before as if little had changed in the intervening years. In its favour, the film did work up a sleepwalker's mood of moving through a half-explained, half-understood landscape, but other than that it struggled to keep the intrigue going for its full two and a half hour running time.

The main trouble is that the Harfords are a couple who may be tempted to stray in their fantasies, but would never actually do it in real life. This results in a distinct lack of suspense as Bill wanders through the nighttime landscape of New York (or an approximation of it) facing sexual enticement but never doing anything about it. What has triggered this meandering? Earlier in the evening, Alice accused him of wanting to bed two young ladies he was arm in arm with at the party and this led to her telling him of the only time she felt like committing adultery.

Yet crucially, she didn't. Despite the absence of any affair, Bill is traumatised by this revelation and the thought of his wife even considering another man other than her husband atttractive, so when he has to answer a house call which leads to the daughter of his now-deceased patient professing her love for him, he's sent into quite a tizzy. Just not a particularly exciting tizzy, walking the streets and encountering rowdy students and a prostitute (Vinessa Shaw) until he tracks down an old college chum (Todd Field) who now plays in a jazz band. It is he who informs Bill of a very special party, an exclusive one which takes place in a mansion out in the country - and he gives Bill the password to get in.

It's at this moment that the narrative alters to become a mystery that may - or may not - lead the doctor to be responsible for a death. Guilt is the order of the day, with Bill's almost but not quite dalliances coming to a head by his gatecrashing of what appears to be some kind of elitist black mass, with the participants all masked and in a state of undress (well, the female ones anyway). When Bill is discovered not to be "one of them" if you see what I mean he is plunged into a nightmare of paranoia where he cannot tell his wife about what has happened and cannot be sure if he is now being tracked and menaced. How this matches up with the marriage troubles is none too neat, and Cruise looks like a little boy lost as Bill is pinballed around between his wife's passions, his own passions, and the passions of the shadowy others. The famed Kubrick sense of humour is sadly lacking, save for a nice Alan Cumming cameo as a flirtatious desk clerk, and as far as eroticism goes it's far too clinical to excite. It doesn't excite as a thriller either, so Eyes Wide Shut is merely an oddity, a footnote to a great career. Music by Jocelyn Pook.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3263 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Stanley Kubrick  (1928 - 1999)

American director famous for his technical skills and endless film shoots, who made some of modern cinema's greatest pictures. New York-born Kubrick began shooting documentaries in the early 50s, leading to his first directing jobs on the moody noir thrillers Killer's Kiss and The Killing. The powerful anti-war film Paths of Glory followed, leading star Kirk Douglas to summon Kubrick to direct the troubled Spartacus in 1960.

Lolita was a brave if not entirely successful attempt to film Nabokov's novel, but Kubrick's next three films were all masterpieces. 1964's Dr Strangelove was a brilliant, pitch black war comedy, 2001: A Space Odyssey set new standards in special effects, while A Clockwork Orange was a hugely controversial, shocking satire that the director withdrew from UK distribution soon after its release. Kubrick, now relocated to England and refusing to travel elsewhere, struggled to top this trio, and the on-set demands on his cast and crew had become infamous.

Barry Lyndon was a beautiful but slow-paced period piece, The Shining a scary Stephen King adaptation that was nevertheless disowned by the author. 1987's Vietnam epic Full Metal Jacket showed that Kubrick had lost none of his power to shock, and if the posthumously released Eyes Wide Shut was a little anti-climatic, it still capped a remarkable career.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: