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Patrick Larkin (Webmaster) wrote:

A first look at Eyes Wide Shut A beautifully shot film. From the opening frame of Kidman dropping her dress, we see the composition of a brilliant artist. On to the breathtaking, fuzzy-dreamlike shots of the Ball. Everything in this film was like a dream. Bill and Alice were in their own daydreams throughout the film, totally blind to the other.

Alice's initial dream is with the Hungarian, a dreamy Prince Charming who completely engrooses Kidman. (Does she feel the same for this man as the Naval Officer? Is she literally tearing herself from this dream?) Kidman, after a dance with the Hungarian, seems to "snap" out of it, waking from her dream. Meanwhile, Cruise is off on his own dreamscape, being enticed by two lovely models promising to take him to the "Rainbow's End." Cruise, like Kidman, is jostled from his dream and told to go upstairs to meet the host of the party, Ziegler. Kubrick here brings the lighting and atmosphere to a brutal reality of sterile lighting -- an obvious departure from the dreams downstairs. We find Ziegler in a giant bathroom with a naked woman who has overdosed. This scene jolts Harford and Ziegler "awake."

Each encounter on Harford's journey are like individual, encapsulated dreams. In the costume shop, Milich allows Harford into the dream like a gatekeeper. Once inside, the shop iscolored like a dream. Even the Asian men partaking in Milich's "lolita-esque" daugher appear in ridiculous makeup making them appear as characters made up by the minds eye. (Harford's return to the costume shop shows us the same Asian men without makeup and Milich being acceptant of the circumstances with his daugher...a brutal splash of cold water on the dreamscape that *seemed* to exist there only 24 hours before.

All the dreams lead up to most wonderful scene in *any* Kubrick film -- the masked ball. Straight out of Schnitzler's novella, the masked ball was truly a tremendous vision that Kubrick carried with him for decades. From the wonderful music by Jocelyn Pook to the entrancing chants and the scary-exquiste masks, the scene is one to watch over and over again. The great achievement is Kubrick did this without words, only music, imagery, and atmosphere. When the masked woman takes him in the hall, attempting to shake him from his dream, we hear "Strangers in the Night" which is ironic given the circumstances and attempts to ground Harford (and the audience).

**Note about the digitally added figures. I think it is a disgrace. The characters were SO obvious it nearly ruined one of the greatest scenes I have ever seen. I believe that Kubrick DID NOT approve such ludicrous alterations. I just can't see Kubrick giving the OK to use what looked like cardboard cutouts backlighted to make certain body parts unseen. It was and is a disgrace.

Harford comes home to learn of another erotic dream of Alice's. Alice has dreamed of giving herself to multiple men while laughing at Bill. Something that distresses both of them. Here Kubrick is delving into the psychology of Schnitzler which no analysis here will take apart thoroughly.

While Bill's dreams are daydreams, Alice's are unconscious dreams. Is there a difference? Since Bill never actually has sex, is there a distinction? Both are obsessed with sex and both are jealous of each other.

The ending in the toy store seems a bit un-Kubrick in that it neatly ties a bow on the film. Surprisingly, Kubrick stayed honest to Schnitzler's novel in this way. Kubrick even went as far as using the same dialogue from Traumnovelle:

"Just as sure as I am that the reality of one night,
let alone that of a whole lifetime, is not the whole

"And no dream is entirely a dream."

Even Zielger's character, which was added to the origianl material, seemed to tidy things up a bit at the end. Tying loose ends and telling the audience what to believe. Or did he? Are we to believe this Ziegler character? I certainly don't.

Thank you Stanley. The fact that the so-called sex romp between the Cruises that everyone thought would continue well past the ShoWest clip, in fact, was it. Kubrick cuts at exactly that same point as in the clip. Beautiful.

The choice in music was exceptional. From the opening waltz to Ligeti's haunting percussive piano piece, to the astounding chanting of Pook's masked ball, the music was definitive Kubrick.

While I must see this film again (and again) and continue disect it, EWS is a stunning, thought provoking, wild trip with good performances by all involved. The true star here is Kubrick, however, and as the end credits rolled, I sat remembering after being awakened from my EWS voyage, that I have witnessed the final work.

Thank you Stanley Kubrick.

Patrick Larkin
Kubrick Multimedia Film Guide

-- 7/17/99

Giovanni Ronda (Gioronda73@yahoo.it) wrote:
EYES WIDE SHUT, UN CONGEDO SUBLIME Sì: l'ultimo film di Stanley Kubrick è tratto da un romanzo di Schnitzler che ha per protagonisti il sogno e l'eros. Ma "Eyes Wide Shut" li ha solo per comprimari, giacché i suoi protagonisti sono la luce e la divinità che che in essa si esprime; come l'oro delle icone medievali, e di più: l'oro è anche sulla pelle, come nella scena di Cruise e Kidman dinnanzi allo specchio. Ma è una divinità diversa da quella di "2001 Odissea nello spazio" ("al cuore di 2001 c'è il concetto di Dio" diceva Kubrick in un'intervista del 1970), perchè questa volta si trova "aperta" fra le vicende d'amore e di morte delle relazioni umane. Gli avvenimenti del film si svolgono nel periodo di Natale (solo un emblema, ovviamente) e, proprio in quei giorni che celebrano la nascita, ogni evento "snasce", come nel romanzo di Schnitzler, e non approda a nulla, e sembra sorgere dal nulla. Ed è questo, credo, che sconcerta chi sta vedendo il film in questi giorni ed è abituato alla forza deterministica kubrickiana, alla sua epifania di momenti cruciali che provocano i grandi mutamenti nelle sue storie (la cura Ludovico porta al baratro "meccanico" di una nemesi vertiginosa, l'invenzione dell'arma-osso alle astronavi, l'astuzia di Danny con le orme nel labirinto alla salvezza, il duello col figliastro alla totale disfatta di Barry Lindon: questi esempi solo per citare alcuni tra gli innumerevoli, fortissimi, nessi causali nei suoi film precedenti). Ed è in questo che invece Kubrick arriverà a sorprenderci per molto tempo col suo ultimo film: come nel sogno, come nell'incubo wellesiano ("Il processo"), come in Lynch, ogni evento si sfata, non porta a niente. E c'è il pericolo, è in agguato, serpeggia, lo si incontra: la gelosia, la rottura, le tetre e sontuose maschere che affondano nel Natale il loro orgiastico rito di morte, più grottesco che erotico (come annotava delusa Irene Bignardi), perchè, al di là della solennità apparente, il male è umanamente ottuso, e perciò ha comunque connotati grotteschi. Ecco dunque l'ultima potente visione di Kubrick, che di luce, luce che s'effonde (a fasci, a perle, irraggiandosi...) dai luoghi più imprevisti, "contorna" i personaggi, che non s'accorgono di nulla, e si muovono, così, ad occhi completamente "spalancati chiusi": ironia del grande regista, che seppe illuminare un feto nello spazio e che, comprendendo la segreta intelligenza del titolo inventato di Stephen King, chiamò "luccicanza" il più bel film dell'orrore mai fatto. -- 7-15-1999

Timo Vainonen (tvainonen@hotmail.com) wrote:
Haven't seen it and won't see it until October here in Finland, but it's a masterpiece anyway. Am I not right?? -- 07-16-1999

Eyes Wide Shut (Eyes Wide Shut) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut -- Eyes Wide Shut

Perfect! The last Kubrick film fits into place nicely. As always, he explores the darker side of human nature, and the film is, of course, visually stunning. He also followed protocol by showing moviegoers something they've never seen the likes of before. He is a true revolutionary, and today was a bittersweet event. On one hand, seeing a new Kubrick film is quite an event, but being his last, it was a more than a little sad. Four stars, another great film in the collection! -- 7/16/99

Paul Doherty (pfunk@dreamscape.com) wrote:
A few hours after viewing the film it hit's me. Incredible. Cant wait to see it again. -- 7/16/99

Bry (b09@hotmail.com) wrote:
very intriguing. -- 7/16

I went to the opening nite showing of Eyes Wide Shut. IT is not the porno everyone has made it out to be. Its an ingenious, make-you-think, what REALLY went on type of movie. An hour or two later, I'm still reeling from it. It seems like it will be one of those films where you will learn and realize more about it as you see it more. Its wonderful. Best Kubrick film I've seen. -- July 16, 1999

Walter Frith (wfrith@cgocable.net) wrote:
Isn't it odd that on the day (July 16, 1999) that Stanley Kubrick's last film, 'Eyes' Wide Shut' opens, that it marks the 30th anniversary of the day the Apollo 11 space mission was launched and its occupants would be the first men on the moon four days later on July 20, 1969. Since a film about a space odyssey is Kubrick's masterpiece, I feel the space time continuum rumbling around us. : - ) Where were you when Stanley Kubrick died? Kubrick died in the early morning hours of March 7, 1999.....a Sunday. I had been out late with friends the night before and slept in until about noon and I was lying in bed trying to wake up by watching t.v. --- as if that works! While channel surfing, CNN's Headline News had the story at the top of its 30-minute newscast and I jumped out of bed and ran out to tell my family of the news. Kubrick's death was overshadowed the next day as baseball legend Joe DiMaggio passed away. Since he hadn't turned out a film in 12 years since 1987's 'Full Metal Jacket', Kubrick worked for two years in the final process, filming his last picture which is an appropriate swan song for those who understand his vision and those who don't. That aspect of his work never changed throughout the decades and there's no reason to believe that Kubrick would change to conventional film making so late in life. Kubrick would also stick to his re-occurring theme of dehumanization for his final film. In no small way, I am deeply convinced in the strictest of terms that 'Eyes Wide Shut' ranks right up there with Kubrick's great classics such as 'Dr. Strangelove' (1964), '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968), and his most controversial film (maybe not anymore) 'A Clockwork Orange' (1971). Kubrick has explored every aspect of human nature under the most meticulous circumstances. You could practically write an entire book on each one of his landmark films. His thorough examinations of war, social strife, political incompetence, technology running amok, showing that times change but people don't, prove that Kubrick was way ahead of his generation. His take on sex hasn't been seen with such broad study since 1962's 'Lolita' and that film is now a Sunday school film compared to 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Tom Cruise plays Dr. Bill Harford, an M.D. married happily (or so it seems) for nine years to his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman). The two of them have a seven year old daughter. One night will attending a party of high society thrown by a colleague of Bill's (Sydney Pollack), some degrading things begin to happen in the lives of the main characters that will affect them over the next 24 hours that will undoubtedly change their lives forever. Alice dances with a handsome and much older Hungarian man with some distinguished grey whose personality is that of a poet who likes to seduce women. Bill is hit on by some young women at the affair, sometimes two at a time and helps his colleague and party host out of a jam when a girl with whom the host has been having sex, almost overdoes on cocaine and heroine in the upstairs bathroom. After arriving home, Bill and Alice let the pot they've been smoking open some new sides to their personality. As their minds expand, they find there is great sexual tension in their marriage and Alice reveals that she once made love with a navy officer and was willing to throw everything in her life away, including her family, in order to be with this man for only a brief time. Bill is blown away by this. From the audience's point of view, his assumed fidelity towards his wife goes unrewarded and he leaves the apartment for a sexual exploration of his own in New York city's underground. You must see the rest of this film for yourself to believe it, enjoy it and be artfully shocked by it. There is one harrowing scene at a party attended by a couple of hundred people out at a mansion in the countryside that is unforgettable. It's a sex ritual and orgy that is clandestine, posh and upscale, and for adults only where everyone wears formal dress, cloaks and capes, and masks. At one point, there are no words spoken. It is only what looks and feels like a soliloquy of mime art. It is a scene that ranks right up there with the opening war room scene in 'Dr. Strangelove', the computer malfunction in '2001: A Space Odyssey' and the climactic scene of Malcolm McDowell's lidlocked eyes during the final stages of brain washing in 'A Clockwork Orange'. At the centre of the film's main characterizations, 'Eyes Wide Shut' is more about fore play than it is sex. The scenes involving sexual display are tastefully done and there is a lot more innuendo in the film than you may have been led to believe during the film's advanced publicity. Kubrick, for the last time in his career, uses many unknown actors to sell his message and does it brilliantly. He makes a mega star like Tom Cruise fit in well with these people and never gives one character in a minor supporting role domination over another. In a major supporting role, Sydney Pollack is sensational. I always said that he should have received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for 1982's 'Tootsie'. Directing himself as Dustin Hoffman's neurotic talent agent, Pollack was hilarious in a role he made totally convincing. Nicole Kidman is very admirable in her role in 'Eyes Wide Shut'. I would have liked to have seen more of her acting talent used in the film but she is not as dominating in the film's second half. Carrying this film for the better part of the way the same as he did in 'Born on the Fourth of July' is Tom Cruise. Forget his marketable name, forget his early juvenile films and give this man the credit he deserves. Cruise exhibits sexual frustration and a wrestling match with his conscience superbly in this film as a man with an unwavering amount of decency in the perverse world he discovers. It's a challenge any actor would have difficulty with and Cruise holds his own with any other actor that could have played this role. Two Oscar nominations and his ability to act equally as well opposite Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Paul Newman (who heaped well deserved praise on Cruise), make Cruise that rare commodity of actor AND movie star and those who don't see his talent can only hope to in the future. What is truly remarkable about the ending of 'Eyes Wide Shut' is the way it is strangely fitting as to what happens to the film's characters. Kubrick intentionally leaves it open to intense debate as to whether or not it is the correct ending and I'm sure he counted on this. Not knowing he would never see the reaction film audiences around the world would have to it makes Kubrick's death all the more untimely and his movies will forever speak to us in a way he never could personally. -- July 17, 1999

Matt Brown (mattcb@ix.netcomcom) wrote:
A beautifully and hauntingly filmed movie (what's new?) about the danger and mystery of sex, marriage, and fidelity. All you Kubrick fans out there are going to EAT THIS UP, trust me. This is absolutely a fitting fanale. And it'll tear you up inside that Stanley is no longer around to continue doing this. Go see the movie--it'll stick in your head for a long, long time. (what's new??) -- 7-17-99

Franco (pasquale@nji.com) wrote:
I liked it but must see it again to pick up some more details. Probably on video. I haven't been to a theater in a couple or years and I'm never amazed at how uncomfortable and disappointing this experience is. A woman's (behind me) cell phone rang and she actually had the nerve to try to wisper a short conversation. Later on some kids broke in the emergency exit and ran up the isle laughing. I got my money back but will probably not go to another movie for a long time. Video will hurt this film but it's the only way I can concentrate. OK, now for my review: The opening was a bit slow, but it was an effective foundation for the rest of the movie. Although Tom Cruise was excellent, I found it hard to beleive that such a young man could be such a successful and wealthy physician. He should barely be out of his internship. As with Kubricks other films, the scenes (background) can be more interesting than the action. It's hard to concentrate on what the actors are saying. This is why his films require multiple viewings. I was hooked throughout the movie. Unlike most formula movies, you really don't know what the hell is going to happen next. Things do not appear as they seem and there is a lot of interpretation required to try to figure out what occured in reality and what was a dream. I once had a company reception at a mansion in the middle of no-where not unlike the mansion in the movie. Therefore I found the masked ball quite intriging and beleivable. While there is tons of nudity, it's not pornographic. I found the film to be more about what happens to your state of mind when you are walking through a city in the middle of the night and the possible weirdness that can result or can be imagined to result. Especially after weird and upsetting events have occured prior to the walk. BTW, everyone in the theater including my wife absolutly hated this movie. Then again, if 2001 had played, the same people would also have hated it, so that means nothing. -- 7/17/99

Q (Qbrick15@aolcom) wrote:
Unlike anything that Kubrick has ever done before, Eyes Wide Shut breaks new ground on many fronts. Who's responsible for inspiring Stanley to enter this brave new world? Obviously, Stillman's dialog and comic social situations are present, along with Tarantino's language and absurd twists (the costume shop). The opening music and the interpersonal relationships have a Woody Allen feel to them. But make no mistake, this is a Stanley Kubrick movie. The amazing colors, the brilliant lighting, the incredible tracking shots...it's here. The characters relate to each other in a very deliberate manner. The dialog being composed of baby steps, minute chess moves of exchanged information, which slowly reveal the suspenseful story. There is a lot to to admire in this film, whether it's the first rate performances from Cruise, Kidman and Pollack; or the fantastic visuals (a revolving door, a ceremonial dance, a trip to the store for some Christmas shopping) that clearly demonstrate Kubrick still had the skills of a master. Q -- 7-17-99

Glenn Pulliam (gpull00@mail.fc.peachnet.edu.com) wrote:
What happend? Did anyone else notice that this movie was cut, and cut very poorly. Too many unaswered questions, I know there are all ways some but I dont't think that this is what he intended. I a mad who ever did this to his creation should be dealt with. Why, Why, Why? did they do this to him. -- 7-17-99

Thank you M.Kubrick for this last intepretation of your genius. I really believe this is the film you wanted to make for decate. All your movies give my the strengt I need to continue in the life. I cant accept I see your last creation.You are the greatess movie-maker to ever cross these land. I hope you feel good where you are now.But I will never forgot what you do.You are still the man Stan. You will never be forget... s -- 16 july 1999

Carlos Ariel Garcia Amaya (gcarlos@mailcity.com) wrote:
Excellent Movie. I see the movie in chula vista, CA, and it was an experience. I can't wait to see it again when it shows in mexico. -- 17/07/99

gabe (gmagee@nmia.com) wrote:
ok... so was the mandy at the beginning (in the bathroom) the same woman at the masquerade that 'redeems' bill hartford and also the same woman at the morgue? is it??? who is that woman that saves him, and how the hell does she know that he is an outsider so early in his arrival? (she was in that circle when he walked in... did sidney's character know of everything beforehand and warn her? was that him nodding to hartford from the balcony?) help!?!?!??!?!?!? feel free to email me if you have any ideas. --

M. C. Erion (mcerion@hotmail.com) wrote:
I saw the film last night, 7/16/99 at a late show. A subtle and sardonically funny film from the master. Too bad Stanley wasn't there at the end to tweak the edits and save his masterpiece from the censors. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman gave excellent performances. Although the film was two and half hours, I felt Kubrick maintained a tight tension throughout. My only problem was I thought the film ended a too soon. I had more questions and wanted them resolved, but maybe that was the point. They weren't supposed to be resolved. Tom Cruise's character glides through life with his eyes closed to the people's desires all around him. Everyone wants to have sex with his character and he hardly notices it, but his eyes are opened finally at the end of the film. Overall I loved this film. The crowd I saw it with were not too hip to Kubrick's vision. They often missed the humor and laughed only at the most obvious spots. Many walked out and I heard a lot of grumbling when I was exiting the film. Comments like "It stunk," don't bode well for this film's financial future. If you are a Kubrick fan, I advise you see this film soon, because it won't be in the theater's long. At least not outside of the major cities. -- 7/17/99

Rob Philpott (rep@achilles.net) wrote:
The best works of modern narrative are those that invite you to give yourself over to it completely so that you can experience something at once familiar and yet completely new. Eyes Wide Shut took me a on a journey through a world that was intriguing, banal, sinister, safe, beautiful, and ugly. I don't think I'm hyperbolizing when I predict that this film will take its place alongside James Joyce's Ulysses and T.S. Eliot's Wasteland and a work of art that will be studied and enjoyed for years to come. Like Ulysses, I found EWS to be a funny yet deadly serious journey through an unknown culture that is so close yet so far away from the routine existence of professional life. It was an old-fashioned tale of an ingenue touring through different cultures and sects (like Gulliver, or Candide), yet it was completely in the now. Tom Cruise has truly proven that he is the great actor of the 90s. He is the only actor in Kubrick's pantheon that gave a performance so perfectly nuanced and worthy of audience identification and sympathy. I think his very emotional and risk-taking acting is what will set this film apart from Kubrick's other masterpieces. Tom Cruise is indeed very brave. I especially liked how he tweaked the nose of tabloid journalism in the scene where he is attacked by homophobic frat boys. Kubrick demonstrates in this film a mastery of Freudian and Jungian psychology. Not since senior year at university have I seen so much doubling, homosexual panic, narcissism... Favourite bit: when the man in the Napoleon mask takes Mandy away from Bill Harford at the masquerade. I love that Kubrick could throw in jokes and references like that to tickle his hardcore fan following. Second favourite bit: Nicole Kidman's devastating confessional monologue to Bill. Probably the best female role in all of Kubrick's movies. I could go on more, but I'll let others touch on other topics. Also, there's more I'll probably have to say after I've mulled the movie over a couple of days. -- July 17/99

scott Thompson (Scott30496@aol.com) wrote:
This movie is not for everyone. In fact it is above the comprehension level of most people. Or at least the people that don't want to take the time to merge with the film. Complex, deep, and original is the only way I can describe this work. I think this film will become part of our culture and will be a historical guide to the hidden side of man. This will last for long after all of us are gone. -- july 17, 1999

Adam (agreen@broadquest.com) wrote:
The reviews praise his mastery and his earlier films are a brilliant body of work. Alas, this piece is an artistic indulgence that leaves the viewer bored, waiting for a slow moving plot to unfold with the insight and sensitivity of the frequent monologues in the beginning of the story. Kidman and Cruise elevate their abilities under Kubrik's guidance but can do nothing to avoid the tedium of this unfinished work. There is a beginning, there is no middle and the end comes with satisfying the most tantalizing thoughts provoked at the outset. Artistry has overtaken filmmaking here -- this artist has suffered for his work ... and now it's our turn ... This is a movie not worthy of the people that contributed to it. -- today...Jul,17,99

Jimmy Andrade (jimmy.andrade@usa.net) wrote:
If you like Kubrick's master works, or at least have certain sensibility for art cinema, you will love this movie, if you're a pop-corn eater trying to relief from your daily stress or you're just going to see Nicole naked, you'll be disappointed, and as every mediocre media is reviewing the film: "you will find it boring". This movie is for people who likes to think. The cinematography is excellent, the pace and rhythm of the film is slowly increasing until you reach the point that you can hear your heartbeat. The dialogs are very realistic, "juicy" as I call such approach. Tom and Nicole act incredibly well, they're very intense, very magnetic personalities. The music fits perfectly into the atmosphere of the film, as I side comment, I was pleased when I discovered that Brad Mehldau plays one of the tracks. Definitely the best last words Kubrick could say. Jimmy Andrade -- 7/17/1999

Tee (pandoralynn@yahoo.com) wrote:
I hope no one flames me for this, but I feel a little let down by EWS. During the masked ball scene I figured the woman who warned Harford was Mandi. I also figured that the man in the white mask was Ziegler. Thus, I was not surprised by Ziegler's "revelations" at the pool table. Also, although I knew that the masked woman was supposed to be Mandi, the actress in the mask was not the same actress in the bathroom - her nipples were way larger than the actress who OD'd in the bathroom. This is just a minor flaw though. I did like the fact that there were some unexplained events - which is why I love Kubrick in the first place. He leaves some things to for the viewer to ponder over, rather than explain away everything. The performances by the actors were great. I got the feeling that Kubrick wanted to emasculate Harford, not only because he never has any sex despite all his chances, but because of the gay-bashing group scene and flirty hotel clert. Although EWS succeeds as a relationship introspection, it doesn't pass muster as a suspense/mystery movie. -- 7/17/99

Janine Smith (janine@jzine.com) wrote:
Silly, silly movie. I'm sure they thought they were doing something important. They weren't. Humiliating to watch. So so sorry this was Kibrick's last movie. I was hoping for so much more. -- 7/17/99

Piranha Jones (piranhaxl@hotmail.com) wrote:
When i first saw A Clockwork Orange about a year ago, I fell in love with the deranged and wonderous visions of Kubrick. I would definately say that Eyes Wide Shut is one of the best (if not THE best) film that he has ever made. With such a vision as this, its sad to know that we will never see his unique style again brighten our minds. -- 7/17/99

methadonekittie (methadonekittie@disinfo.net) wrote:
I am completely outraged about the number of reviews I have read that say that this movie should have more sex in it. Does a movie have to include lots of fucking to be about sex? Does a sexy movie have to be pornographic every second? NO. It seems that people have put themselves under an impression that Kubrick was going to shoot highly-stylized porn, rather than a movie dealing with complex human relationships. That the 'pot scene' is the cornerstone is obvious...the implict views of alice and bill during the christmas party are then made explicit. Ideas of what men and women are..of what women and men want. The questions raised during that evening session influence every part, every proceeding event, in the most weblike and excruciating connected way.... I simply cannot wait to see it again, and if anyone would like to engage in a discussion of the psychology of the movie, I would welcome it. -- 7/17/99

Kirk Lynde (kirk.lynde@odyssey.on.ca) wrote:
What a sumptuous,lavish finale for Stanley Kubrick. This film is wonderous. It immerses the viewer in ever more interesting visual images while telling the story of jealously nearly undoing a marriage. The strength of this film is its splendid texture not its narrative. An interesting final stroke of genius from a filmaker who clearly worked with a medium he fully understood. -- 18/07/99

Dee (dbyd@earthlink.net) wrote:
Incredible acting ... powerful film ... as a student of human behavior, and having first-hand experience with the themes of this movie, I offer my continued respect and admiration for Mr. Kubrick for his ingenious ability to portray the crux of the human psyche. This is NOT just about jealousy and obsession, it is a study of classic human nature, knowing one's self, and making intelligent choices. Do we follow instinct, or do we think through our actions and the unseen frailties of ourselves & our fellow man? There are a million ways to sell our souls - Eyes Wide Shut covers a few of them with the usual brilliance of this master filmmaker. This is raw and powerful in its honesty. Thank you, Mr. Kubrick and all your associates for yet another masterpiece. .... D. Ames Designs by D of Las Vegas http://home.earthlink.net/~dbyd -- 7-18-99

The typical review of Eyes Wide Shut reads, "a personal, poignant, haunting, spellbinding final masterpiece." Once this "spell" (read cinematography and slow pacing) fades, and it does fade quickly, what remains is a badly sewn patchwork quilt, much of the material derived from other films. Part upper-middle Manhattan a la Woody Allen, part pulpy humor a la Tarantino (japanese businessmen in the costume shop) and part fantasy (vs. dream) of antiquated sexual ritual, these elements just don't gel. Unfortunately it doesn't stop there. Structurally Eyes suffers from symptoms similar to, and perhaps arisen from, the tonal inconsistencies. For a film that truly, and successfully, breaks down the continuity narrative, check out Last Year At Marienbad (Resnais, 1969) or 8 1/2. Eyes also aims for the anti-climax upon anti-climax closure which give John Ford films such a sense of truth and realism, but it doesn't work here, partially because of the ludicrous nature of the orgy sequence (as well as much else). Furthermore, for a film which draws upon Jungian psychology, Eyes is embarrassingly childish in its treatment of psycho-sexual themes. Bergman and Fellini (to name a couple) work this terrain and reap wonderful, enchanted fruit. Eyes exploits these concepts without any real understanding of their depth, and worse- uses them as an excuse to show the playboy version of a Sadeian orgy. But, one may ask, did he even want to explore their depth? If he didn't, the irony falls flat. So now, other critics, wishing to salvage the film, read Eyes as a darkly comic look at materialism, and that the viewer who doesn't "get it" is a simpleton... because, of course, this is Stanley Kubrick film. If class analysis were the filmmaker's intention, it is not done effectively. Bill's imaginings of his wife's affair with the sailor is trite, but not pushed far enough to become ironic. The Hungarian lothario/vampire, whose lines include "have you ever read Ovid's Art of Love?" is insipid, but Alice's reaction does not suggest an ironical commentary. Bill's naked woman-cum-savior at the orgy suffers from the same symptoms.... "STOP!" ? I personally can not recall a more ridiculous moment in a film. If you're looking for a film with a politically *relevant* sense of irony, Goddard's Weekend drove home this theme to perfection. Its most obvious flaw is also the most serious... can anyone venture a guess? Are the views on the relationship between men and women are hopelessly, hopelessly, out of date? Powerful men have orgies with prostitutes, while "Nic" stays at home with baby? The good mother can only fantasize about having an affair with a sailor (this drives hubby to the brink?!)? All the women parade naked, while the men remain clothed? Boys and girls, Ms. Robinwood is going to teach you a new word today- and I want you to repeat after me- can we say EX-PLOIT-ATION? Nicole Kidman's own comments about working with the filmmaker, who explained to her "No, You can't talk to a man that way." reveals his agenda. How would we feel about a film where a white man fantasizes about naked, grinning black slaves in a cotton field? Not too well (or maybe just swell, judging from the reaction to this film.) Perhaps we'll *overlook* it just once more (word ring any bells, kids? Read Kael's review of the Shining.) Overall, Eyes was goofy, derivative, bloated with self-importance, and most of all, damaging. Disenchanted, Laura -- 7/18/99

Kevin (biggio81@aol.com) wrote:
It had all the aspects of a good movie, good actors in Samuel Jackson, Liam Nielson, and Natalie Portman; an awesome director in George Lucas, and of course all that other Star Wars hype. So with all these great expectations of mine about the upcoming Phantom Menace movie I thought that no matter what happened I knew that I would leave impressed. Wrong. I hated that movie. And not only the movie but the fact I let myself get carried away for a movie. So I told myself never to get emotional over a movie again. So months later I again had this feeling toward an upcoming movie with spectacular actors (Cruise and Kidman), the best director in Kubrick and of course all that hype over the sex. So once again I walked into the theater with high expectations and truly felt that I would thoroughly enjoy the movie. Right. This movie is easily one of the best movies I have ever seen. It has single handidly restored my faith in movies, especially after all the summer blockbuster crap that returns annually to just piss me off. Oh well back to Kubrick's masterpiece. Everything about this movie is consistent in the fact that this is a Kubrick film and he lets you know it with the use of eerie music that just goes along with the spectacular sets and odd minor characters used to bring out the emotions Kubrick is looking for. The massive orgy scene though is the only flaw in the movie because as we all know had digitally created people to block out particular sex scenes in order to avoid the NC-17 rating, because we all know that this movie is best suited for children under 17, right? Lets face it it was a joke for the movie industry to allow this to happen, but what can you do with so many idiots out there? So go see Eyes Wide Shut, it is a great movie. Oh and by the way, the only people who do not like this movie are idiots who came to see Tom and Nicole get naked. -- July 18, 1999

Jonathan (filmjguy1@aol.com) wrote:
Eyes wide shut has an austere, cold quality to it that is timed perfectly and enhances the Dream Story of sexual obsessiona nd jealousy. Bill Harford's night odyssey is twisted with rage, revenge, obsession, and guilt. The fact that he never has sex that night after his wife Alice makes him insanely jealous is meant to provide depth into an icy shell. As exhubed by the opening scenes the couple may love each other intensely..but like many couples have become frozen with time and social conquest. The night out is intended to warm him to sex.... and the journey provides many attempts to tempt him. But he resists out of guilt? Still, his intrigue turns deadly, perhaps a minor lark of morality as he intrudes on a secret ritualistic orgy party. The masked men hiding theior identity are like sexual beacons that society forces them to cover. Sexual inhibtions in the 90s are full forced then why make them dangerous and cover them. well kubrick simply sees that maybe we still hide our deepest, most bizarre inhibitions. Straight copulation is easy and free, as exhibited in front of a mirror for all the world to see... but the Orgy and Sacrifice, an S&M laced force, is inevitably forced to hide. The high and mighty of NYC must hide thsi way and make the Orgyu dangerous. Dr Bill entranced by the dream of sex is a troubled everyman that has found a system he once believed (in this case the trust and love unconditionally of his wife threatned) to be flawed is enraged with envy. The careful, calculated performances of Cruise and Kidman hold the difficult material together and solifify it. The only flaw in the film is the way it ends... in which we think we know what reality was not the dream.... but the fact that its still mysterious even after an attempt suggests that 1) Kubrick tried to tie up loose ends too easy and 2) maybe he did this for a deeper purpose.... A ( A+ but the flawed ending) -- 7-18-99

Jason Torrey (micromanfilms@hotmail.com) wrote:
Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut". Friday morning I woke up at 7 am and struggled to get back to sleep since I still had 4 1\2 hours to wait for the earliest showing of my favorite director's final film. At 10 I put on my shorts and my "Clockwork Orange" t-shirt and headed towards the theater. I arrived at 10:15 with 1 hour and 15 minutes to wait, just enough time to steak out the best seat in the theater. I waited wondering what I was going to see, would it be the geatest film ever, will this movie put to shame all other movies, will I be disapointed? When the previews were over and the Warner Bros. logo danced on the screen my heart pounded in my chest. For the next 2 hours and 45 minutes I felt like I was in a trance, my eyes were fixed on the screen unable to look away. Everything was just what I had imagined it would be, the classic Kubrick camera moves, the lighting, the sets, the music, everything screamed "Kubrick". Everything was as I had thought exept for the story, and what a tale to be told. This film did not entertain, it inquired. The film seemed to ask me how I felt about my love life, my sexuality, my feelings toward infidelity. No other film has ever questioned me, no other story or mix of characters has ever made me question my relationship with my girlfriend. This one did. Even though I know that I will never come into contact with the same things Dr. Bill saw and experienced, I know what it feels like to desire other women and my fear of being cheated on. I was happy to see that the film was not a festival of sex like everyone made it out to be, I knew Stanley was better than that. Stanley Kubrick has always managed to find the dark side to any given situation, he knows that darkness is in us all, and "Eyes Wide Shut" stays faithful to that dark side of humanity. This film is deep, thought provoking and fascinating. Stanley Kubrick has capped off his legendary career with a simply remarkable work of art, and his most deeply personal and human story. I think this movie is wonderful. -- 7/18/99

Roberto Salgado (Laundry189@aol.com) wrote:
I work at a small art-house cinema, which is where this movie should be. We get a much more intelligent and appreciative audience than the usual multiplex herd. I have heard so many people ignorantly say that this movie sucks. What were they expecting? the usual hollywood bullshit? This is a Kubrick film, and thus it requires thought. It shouldn't have been hyped like it was either; I have long appreciated Kubrick as the greatest filmmaker ever (I even took a film class at USC devoted entirely to the cinema of Stanley Kubrick), but all the hype just made me ready for dissappointment. But I was ecsatic to see that the film was another Kubrick masterpiece. It is a superb finale to a magnificent oeuvre. I came out of the theatre jumping around and trembling, utterly in awe of the late genius. I will see it as many times as I can before it leaves the theatres because the dim multiplex herd won't support it. -- 06-19-99

John (doctors18@hotmail.com) wrote:
This movie was wonderful. I thought that it was one of his best. My favorite Kubrick movies are Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange. I put this movie up there with them. I thought the direction was awesome. The story should not be changed. The acting was superb. The score could not be better. A lot of people are saying that it was slow moving but I believe these people did not get the pure impact of each scene and how important they were. It was beautifully made and very poignant. I will recommend this to anyone. My only wish is that I could of seen it in it entirety but I would have to leave the country. I can only hope that they will have the directors cut out to rent. -- 7/18/99

Seth Gainer (seffro@hotmail.com) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut- I've seen this movie two times since it's been out, and I still don't think i've had enough of it. Cruise and Kidman are phenomenal and the plot is so thick you could cut it with a knife. What makes me grin is hearing the audience complain about the ending, I even heard one gentleman saying, "He's lucky he's dead...he doesn't have to read the reviews!" It amazes me to see how dead America's audience is today. The movie is left open for the audience to ponder what happens next, and no one can handle that. Kubrick's vision of obsession and jealousy is a very dirty one; it makes one wonder what is out there and is it possible at all to trust anyone you fall in love with. I must say that his last film was certainly his best one, but it's a shame that he isn't around to make any more. -- 7-19-99

angelkuro (darthvulva@hotmail.com) wrote:
It's been a couple of hours since I watched EWS and it's haunting and visceral landscape of humanity and it's sexuality is still reeling through my head. At first I was hesitant to see it just for the fact that in knowing it's Kubrick's last film, but no one can deny themselves for too long to keep from dwelving into his world. In the end we learn it's ours staring right at us. From what I get from it mostly is an influence from Macbeth, ecspecially the Nicole Kidman character. A morally ambiguous disturbed woman who's words and dreams affect the lives around her, yet can relate to reality after a short time, leaving those around her in a daze. Tom Cruise did a great job of emoting that utter feeling of sheer helplessness, as he sits across from her quietly listening to every gut wrenching detail of her dreams, to then go out and react. Once Scorsese was asked what he felt was his most violent film and he responded with "The Age Of Innocence", because of the emotional turmoil the characters go through. I found myself while viewing Eyes Wide Shut rubbing my temples and frowning at the emotional nudity as opposed to the physical. It was a truly powerful and grueling experience that is so identified with his last three films, only at last it's as though he left this world through this film with a final understanding and serenity of what makes us tick. The themes going from man objectifying himself and evolving, to man accepting his fate as to what he is(due to his situation). After all that's what Kubrick was about. The transcending of current situations, whether physical, material or mental. In this case the masks from "Clockwork Orange" show up once again, but during the hypnotically fantastic (and controversial)"venetian masked ball" sequence. His final film deals with the mysterious frontier of matrimony, and what people do to keep it alive. I have never seen characters so self-deconstructive and bare. Of course days after you'll be asking yourself about certain mechanics of the story. Ecspecially pertaining to all the events that happen in the first party sequence, where DrHaford(Tom Cruise) is asked by two flirtatious young models if he's ever wondered what's at "the end of the rainbow", to then later on notice the costume shop where some interesting events occur is called "the Rainbow". The whole central theme is how real are our dreams? The creepy Ziegler character is the voice of reason we trust so much in our lives, to then suddenly "wake up" and become wary of it. He is played by director and kubrick friend Sydney Pollack, who seems to dictate the whole scenario. Perhaps that is why Kubrick got a director to play the role. But the dream like style in the scenes he inhabits are so entrancing you sit in awe at Kubrick's utilization of current technology, pertaining to film stocks, lenses etc. At one time Kubrick devised his own equipment to suit his needs technically. These inventions changed the film industry and are still being used to this day. Now the advancements are being done by others almost on a daily basis. He has not only influenced the conscious society, he has infulenced others to spread their wings without compromise to a vision. In EWS it seems that Stanley has relaxed a bit and learned to enjoy the fruits of his 40 year labour. While watching EWS I couldn't help but realize that the maybe the world is finally catching up to Stanley. -- july 19th 99

Pete Kachinske (maxsdad@prodigy.net) wrote:
I don't believe I can add much to some of the excellent observations and reviews which appear on this page, although something has been troubling me since I saw the film on Friday. I certainly don't want to sound like Oliver Stone, but didn't the "Pool Room" scene towards the end seem entirely out-of-place? For those of you that have not read the book, it appears to be the only scene which varies from the novellette (aside from some needed modernization and the addition of the X-mas party in the beginning, this may be the closest he has ever followed the original work). To me, Zigler's explanation of the recent events is un-Kubrickesque. It is almost as if Kubrick would of added a scene to "2001" where Bowman & Poole sitting around on the bridge discussing the effect that the monolith has had on world history and why they have been enlisted to follow it into space. Is it possible that the scene was added at some point after SK's untimely death? Does it have anything to do with Daly & Semel's resignation from WB (in shame maybe?). And those mysterious words on Christiane's web-site "...and when the time comes that I feel I must say more, I will." Furthermore, Dr. Harford was summoned to Zigler's via cell-phone after viewing the body in the morgue. I would think that a perfectionist like Stanley would know that you can't use a cell-phone in a hospital. Is it possible that this scene was added on at some point because some suit felt that the film didn't explain the story well-enough to the average film-goer? Without that scene, the film would retain it's "did it actually happen or is this all in my mind" state and leave many more questions to be answered by the viewer. After all, isn't that what Stanley was all about? Please don't tell me I'm crazy.... Pete In Cleveland -- 07-19-99

Keith Rondinelli (keith@sonicnet.com) wrote:
Great film, but not Kubrick's best, and the film definitely was NOT finished, contrary to what the movie studio and Cruise would like you to believe. There were some very sloppy moments; and whatever can be said about Kubrick, if anything, he wasn't sloppy. He was neat to the point of razor-like precision, and this movie felt like it still needed to be sharpened. Otherwise very haunting, beautiful, and thought provoking, which puts it miles ahead of the crap that is shoveled out of Hollywood on a weekly basis. -- 7/19/99

Don Hoffman (hoffmania@hotmail.com) wrote:
"Vertigo" meets "Risky Business" with a little "After Hours" thrown in for good measure. The Hitchcock-style mystery is compelling. The pretty boy acting of Cruise isn't. Not nearly as controversial as its hype suggests. Despite the slow burn of the story and well-done dialogue about the nature of honesty in marriage, Kurbrick has gone out with a whimper. -- July 19, 1999

Aaron Day (wollig@yahoo.com) wrote:
The Review Once again, Stanley Kubrick is ahead of his time. No doubt, this film will be abhorred by thousands but loved by hundreds. In the interest of time, I will only comment on a few of the most important aspects of the film In his review, Roger Ebert stated, “[t]he film has the structure of a thriller, with the possibility that conspiracies and murders have taken place. It also resembles a nightmare; a series of strange characters drift in and out of focus…” This is an amazing feature of the film. One goes out to watch a movie but instead returns home with an experience. As I was watching it I kept thinking, “man am I tired and uncomfortable.. where is this going? Wow, this is a great scene…Why do I really not care where this is going? Why am I completely satisfied? Shouldn’t I be bored? Shouldn’t I be upset with the pace or the fact that I do not know where this is going?” Upon reflection, I had this sensation in the first scene…damn it was long. Then, I kept the sensation but by the 3rd hour I had given up my protest. I was completely under the control of the film… “OK you win. I will watch.” It’s interesting, as he begins the movie he does two things. First, he takes advantage of the fresh audience willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and he abuses them. He tests the bounds of their patience. In doing so, he accomplishes his second objective. He TEACHES the viewer how to watch his film. At the beginning of the film, he demands extraordinary patience and for the rest of the film he gently asks for it. The audience will then surrender it because they now have learned how to view the film. This confirms what I have previously decided about 2001 and Clockwork. With Stanley Kubrick’s most indulgent films, one should view them lounging preferably in lost of down in front of big screen. But a pillow on the floor with a 28” color will do just fine. Ebert also makes the comment: “The reconciliation at the end of the film is the one scene that doesn't work; a film that intrigues us because of its loose ends shouldn't try to tidy up.” I think he is correct. But, I would like to know more about how this scene came about. Was it a Hollywood compromise or was it part of Kubrick’s vision? I think a less harsh interpretation of the choice would be that the scene works like reality when you wake from a nightmare. There is a sense of relief and reconciliation –a return to candy land or daily life in the toy store, if you will. Moreover, the sights and sounds of the store serve this function reemphasizing this feeling of relief and normalcy. The Actors Nicole Kidman has never looked more beautiful on film. Her appearance and presence blended wonderfully with the film. Yet, her overall performance was somewhat of a disappointment the may or may not be her fault since she was (I assume) heavily directed. In the beginning the movie focuses on her sexuality, however, she played this scene too trashy I think. She was too overtly sexual -almost freakish. The character established in this scene could not be the same one that is so hurt by the news of her husband’s 24 hour adventure. Throughout the movie I kept asking, “who is she?” I am left wondering if Nicole Kidman ever decided. The confusion is confounded by the way she played the pot smoking – true confessions scene. In his column Ebert, too noted the unfortunate disconnect between the way Nicole played this scene and the way it might take place in real life. This was just confusing…is she high? Is this her personality? How do we interpret the import of this story (revelation?) in the context of their marriage? Eyes Wide Shut demonstrates the amazing directability of Tom Cruise. I was struck in the first scene about how well Tom Cruise had developed the Kubrick cadence to his speech. To see an actor of Tom’s stature and stage in his career to perform with such fidelity to his director and piece is refreshing. No, it’s more than that. Tom Cruise is a great actor period. How he got past his amazing good looks and celebrity status to achieve what he regularly achieves on film –I’ll never know. He played the part of the good doctor selflessly. He brought out such complexity in character within the first scene (at the party) that I kept asking the question “who is he?” The difference between his performance and Nicole’s was that Tom kept answering the question as he created more. Unfortunately, Nicole never answered those questions, so I stopped caring. The Themes Kubrick achieved greatness in his exploration of human sexuality. Kubrick navigated the sexual depths of one’s mind and of sexuality itself without ever stooping to the level of a Basic Instinct type crap attempted in the past. As Ebert points out, “The film has two running jokes, both quiet ones: Almost everyone who sees Bill, both male and female, reacts to him sexually.” I thought this was wonderful. They did an excellent job. I also found it interesting that the question of the Doctor’s sexuality itself was often raised. Also, the fact that the audience had to interpret the relationship between Mr. Nightingale and the Doctor was very interesting. The viewer thinks… “hey why are they touching each other? Is he? Naaa. They are just old school buddies—guys show affection that way.. Sex. Not Sex. Boy it can be confusing to interpret these things sometimes.” Ebert also noted, “Kubrick's great achievement in the film is to find and hold an odd, unsettling, sometimes erotic tone for the doctor's strange encounters.” I can’t add to this. I just wanted to point it out. Kubrick was a genius at this. Visually, the film was wonderful. Camera angles, colors, lights it was Kubrick. Remember the effect of all the backlighting? The stairs, the curtains, the tree in his office…the tree in the girl’s apartment, the window to the street in the upstairs of the costume shop, the room with the daughter and the Japanese businessmen and the room with the costume mannequins. All of the primary colors! I often thought back to the beauty of the white of the ship and red of HAL in 2001 and the backlighting employed in the bar scene of Clockwork as I watched Eyes Wide Shut unfold. Each scene was a work of art as well. As Ebert commented: "Kubrick pays special attention to each individual scene. He makes a deliberate choice, I think, not to roll them together into an ongoing story, but to make each one a destination--to give each encounter the intensity of a dream in which this moment is clear but it's hard to remember where we've come from or guess what comes next." This is well put by Roger Ebert. The ability to make every scene important and valuable in its own right is a hallmark of Kubrick’s work. Fortunately, this feature in film has not ceased with the loss of Kubrick. One, can find similar ability in the recent Boogie Nights. Kubrick did however capture the feeling of a dream. And the brilliance lies in the fact that he does so without us knowing it! He builds upon this ability which he first demonstrated in Clockwork Orange and 2001. Yet, it is more interesting in Eyes Wide Shut because this film takes place in the present. The audience has little warning that they are entering a dream. Eyes Wide Shut will be a controversy for many reasons and within many circles. The irony is that the art of Kubrick extends into the controversy itself. What critics will dislike about the movie, Kubrick did on purpose. What politicians dislike about the movie, will prove his point: Sexuality, Morality, Relationships, Individuality are all complex and confusing facets of our existence and they can only be explored and negotiated at the level of the individual. A fig leave, or in this case, post production computer graphics can do little to diminish the odd, contradictory, confusing, and unstoppable sexuality that lies within each one of us. Aaron Day -- 07-19-99

A work of supreme craftsmanship. Though I was never once frightened, this may be the best horror film I've ever seen, because thinking about it frightens me NOW. What is inside of our deepest thoughts, despite what we tell ourselves we think? We've all had dreams that embarrass and frighten us; how did our minds come up them? Like sexual fantasies we would never reveal, such dream thoughts were in our minds all along. This film will be talked about more than any other ever made. -- 7-19

Andy Dimond (redwindnomad@hotmail.com) wrote:
WOW. That sums up my reaction. Kubrick has done it again, successfully adapting Dream Story into Dream Film. Eyes Wide Shut is easily the best film of the past decade. Love the website. -- 7/19/99

Travis Besst (sboyd1@neo.rr.com) wrote:
I saw "Eyes Wide Shut" on opening night and had to smile inwardly at all the youth around me who had obviously taken a night off from seeing "American Pie" one more time to see Tom and Nicole's "9 1/2 Weeks". I knew they were in for a jarring disappointment. As for myself I can only say, having only seen the film once, that the initiial disappointment I felt (inevitable for a film I've been waiting for 12 years) wore of quickly as I realized that Kubrick had skillfully injected me with themes and images that I just couldn't shake. It is real Kubrick and I must see it again. Of all the films I've seen in a theater in recent memory, only "The Thin Red Line" and "Boogie Nights" have inspired me to make the same return trip. High praise indeed. I haven't the time or skill to write as insightful the critical analyses as some others have in this forum so I won't bother. I would like to comment on one aspect of the film that hasn't been mentioned much but which jumped out at me as a major, if not THE major, theme. Throughout the film Kubrick presents objectified women victimized by male sexual brutality. He also suggests this aggresive sexual hostility towards women exsists in the dark hearts of of even the most amiable of men( the casting of the good-guy Sidney Pollack as the film's evil personified is brilliant). Male sexual id unleashed is symbolically represented by the masked ritual in the palacial estate(Of course it seems ridiculous, it's meant to). Bill's tormenting fantasy of his wife's imagined infidelity becomes increasingly rigorous (violent?). The lingering closeup of a debauched, father-pimped young girl ( Leelee Sobieski ) grinning is chilling. But the most disturbing example is the woman who offers herself to a brutal gangbang in order to "redeem" Cruise's character. Pollack's character even says at one point "Nothing happened to her that didn't happen before. She had her brains fucked out." The suggestion that the men at the "orgy" eagerly displaced their anger at Harford onto this girl in a hostile sexual assault is far more disturbing than if they had merely murdered her. The girl's subsequent drug overdose suggests the horrifying extent of her humiliation. Also that this girl is later revealed to have been a "former beauty queen" seems to suggests society's complicitness in all of this. In light of this, that Kubrick deliberately inserts a shot of the Harford's young daughter excitedly clutching a Barbiedoll tells me that this ending isn't as hopeful as some have interpreted it. I now this sounds like feminist clap-trap, but I'm a 28 year old male and this aspect of the film seemed obvious to me. I'm sure subsequent viewings will reveal more themes, humor, and haunting images and nuances. I'm not sure yet where this film ranks Kubrick's body-of-work, but I do know that film experiences of this richness are a rare bird at the cineplex these days. -- 7/19/99

Kyle (playboy@megsinet.net) wrote:
All I can say is that I am amazed!. The film had a number of flaws most of which have been mentioned in other's reviews, but remarkably this is still a great film. I think it is a great ending to the career of a true auteur. I was glad to see I was not the only one has thought nothing but this film since seeing it. I saw it again today, and believe me the second time around is even better. For me, this movie feels like it could be addictive. I have to see it again and soon! Finally a movie that lives up its hype. Kyle --

Andrew Hager (hager@qcol.net) wrote:
I saw the film on opening night and boy as I riveted. This movie is a must for Kubrick fans as it shows elements of all of the master's previous work. it is also his most hopeful and moral film, one with Protestant morality that shines through... As a kubrick fan, i loved it... -- July 20, 1999

Larry Coressel (coressel@erinet.com) wrote:
I find it interesting that some viewers are saying the final scene in EWS is a "happy ending." It is no happier and ending that when Alex said "I was cured alright" in A Clockwork Orange. Sure, he was cured, but only to go back to doing what he was up to at the beginning of the film! The final beat of EWS was brilliant. We follow them through this odyssey, and when it's over, it ain't. They end up back where they started, only now they are in slightly altered form. And perhaps wiser for the wear. Perhaps not. "What do we do now?" "Fuck." Just as obsessively and possessively as they have for years... -- 7/20/99

Larry Coressel (coressel@erinet.com) wrote:
P.S.- I LOVE THIS FILM! -- 7/20/99

Kubrick and his (puply)devices were in effect way before Quentin Tarantino ever picked up a camera. I don't have time to say much more other than that I was brought to tears during the ritual scene at the party. Something Woody and Quentin (although I respect them both)have never or will ever do. -- 7/20/99

Justin (grand_moff73@hotmail.com) wrote:
I will not go on into extreme detail, but I do want to add to the stream of praise. Eyes Wide Shut was an incredible journey and fits in nicely with all of Kubrick's work. Most of the people I work with didn't like it and were shocked that I saw it twice opening weekend. No matter. EWS was brilliant. End of story.... -- 7/20/99

Lawrence (msge8@aol.com) wrote:
This is basically a science fiction movie. Beautiful people throwing themselves at you,hookers who don't want money (and happen to be beautiful). An orgy that just happens to have the same person attending who you just saw at a party. And a death by someone he just saw at a party. But if you throw out all believability, wasn't a bad movie. -- July 20, 1999

MovieDan (dandoug@concentric.net) wrote:
really great piece of work --

Blake (Uberfloyd@aol.com) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut is an exquisite telling of a very old story. Cruise encounters temptation in many forms. These encounters are strung together in a mind boggling flury of inuendo's and metaphors. To appreciate this film is to appreciate the well crafted work of an artist. The story of temptation is played out on several levels until the realities of the movie eventually appear in a tranced dream like state where nothing seems grounded. To sort your way through this deception and indulgence of the senses will lead to the experience of enjoying a beautiful movie in a style only Kubrick was capable of. We should mourn his loss. -- 7/20/99

prova (prova@prova.prova) wrote:
prova prova prova -- prova

david harrington (davidh@epiclearning.com) wrote:
wow..... I saw it again last night for the 2nd time Why do so many people think it sucks? Are they blind or have they never experienced what Cruise is going through? God, I wish he was still alive so I could look forward to his next and next and.... -- 7/21/99

david harrington (davidh@epiclearning.com) wrote:
BTW: Has anyone heard that a director's cut will be available (maybe on dvd)? Feel free to email me with info.... -- 7/21/99

Stephanie (samiam5317@aol.com) wrote:
I loved the film. I was particularly impressed with the way that SK presented the irony inherent in all marriage – the great harm and pain that we will willingly inflict on the one person that we are drawn to over all others. I was in awe watching the fight between the Hartfords progress from the simple misspoken phrase to the denial of any wrongdoing to the out and out thrust of pure bile at one another. This is one of the nasty secrets of marriage – we are seemingly unable to express love without expressing hate towards one another. We are unable to love one another “enough” to prevent this – which seemed to be an ongoing theme in film – this notion of when things would be “enough.” The Hartfords were well off, but they weren’t wealthy “enough,” when was Bill going to go through “enough” after the revelation, were the ornamentations of Christmas ever going to be “enough” for everyone. Very fitting for a filmmaker that will never be able to provide enough of his genius for the rest of us that simply try to understand. -- 7/21/99

Wyatt Ben Bernstein (wyattbenbern@hotmail.com) wrote:
What an amazing film. My mind was racing the entire time. Stanley Kubrick has added another masterpiece to his list. Visually stunning, I never lost interest in this powerful psychological peeling of a married couple. The digital creations were unacceptable though. They should have left it the way Stanley intended. I cannot get that party scene out of my mind. Stanley truly was a master visionary genius. I will miss him. -- 7/21/99

Purely Kubrick! Excellent photography. Sex secondary to jealousy theme -- 7/22/99

Michael Garris (MGarris@webmail.colgate.edu) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut could have also been called eyes closed open. This was about the human experience and the battle between the subconcious and concious, the dream state and "reality". What is reality? That is the question that Kubrick is dealing with. Is it the characters subconcious desires and imaginings that should they should be judged upon or their physical actions. In reality neither of them ever cheat on one another, yet the dynamics of their relationship is drastically changed by the end of the movie. I think Kubrick is not taking sides on which state of mind is more real than the other. Rather he is revealing the tensions that the two realities have with one another. That is the friction created by Kidmans dreams and than Cruise's reality. These two characters on a normal basis are living with their Eyes wide shut. In other words they live their mundane lives, he a doctor she a house wife, without being aware of what is going on beyond this veil of ordinariness. When finally Kidman opens the subconcious world after smoking pot, perhaps Kubricks stand on the capacity of marijuana to open up to the subconcious, they reach a new level of awareness. The whole storyline concerning this sexual cult show the potential of actualizing ones subconcious desires if you have the resources. In other words extreme power, influence, and money to actually create ones subconcious world of desires. Finally the movie concludes with the two in a toy store. How ironic that they speak of how they are going to live in reality, a more aware reality, when they are in the middle of childs fantasy land. Although this is the more practical choice for the two of them it is not reality it is simply another type of fantasy that ignores deeper feelings. -- 7/23

austin (paige@clover.net) wrote:
this was one of the most mysterious and intriguing movies ever. i recommend everyone to see it. fine holiday fun!!! -- 7/28/99

John Jansen (john_jansen@playstation.sony.com) wrote:
I've now seen "Eyes Wide Shut" twice and have spent considerable time thinking and probing the details of the film. My first reaction was enthrallment and puzzlement. Cutting to the chase, it's two hours and forty minutes of pure Kubrick. Every frame. Every cue. On the second viewing, the pace accelerated considerably, the building blocks of the scenes made more sense while the multiple details and treasures of the film began to open up. From the opening moments, you are left in little doubt that you are in the hands of a master filmmaker with deliberate control and confidence. The blink-of-an-eye glimpse of a woman undressing followed by the film's title sets up the entire program. This is a voyeurs journey. Two beautiful people prepare for a dress-up Christmas party. The opening "mundane" scenes and the naturalness of a couple getting ready for a party...the casual and banal conversations...it all seemed so real and removed from "movie" acting. How great it is that a movie dares to show a couple together in a bathroom, with her asking how she looks while on the toilet, while the husband just answers her in the same ordinary mundane way, not even paying attention to her, consumed by his own image. This is a spark for Alice. Maybe the spark that lights the film into action. Since the film was based on an Arthur Schtizner novel called "Traumaville", which was translated in America as "Rhapsody: A Dream Novel", it seems that dreams are the key element here. The fine line between dreams and reality are explored. Cruise's journey will be a reality dream or waking nightmare. The film is a puzzler, to be sure, but what makes Kubrick's films so wonderful for the curiously inclined viewer is that even after several repeat viewings, you will find yourself uncovering all sorts of new information. This film definitely falls into that category, more so than ANY film of recent memory. This one doesn't fit into any neat or familiar mold. I can't think of any other film that recalls the kind of experience this film is going for. But it is intended to ask questions. Probe thought. Get you thinking. And it is very successful at that. There are no right or wrong answers. Just what you mine out of it. Since there is NOTHING in a Kubrick film by chance or mistake, the exploration of ideas and situations become a treasure hunt of discovery. The New York apartment is based on the actual apartment shared by Kubrick and his wife Christiane, who herself is an accomplished painter, whose work hangs on the walls of the apartment. Kubrick's daughter Katherina also contributed paintings. To give you an idea on how Kubrick works, when he cast Vinessa Shaw as the prostitute, he asked multiple questions about her studies in school. When she replied she studied Sociology, he carefully planted an "Introduction to..." book on her shelf. It can be seen when Crusie talks on the phone. It's this type of layering that allows the viewer to examine each and every element in the film. Actor and character identities are interwoven. This is a film as much about subtext as narrative storytelling. Although this is a serious film about sexual yearnings, one that often walks and flirts with ridicule while keeping a surrealness and gravity throughout, there is always a slight humor in Kubrick's work. When the child asks if she can stay up late and watch "The Nutcracker", I had a great laugh. Because Cruise is about to experience the ultimate "ball" cracker himself very soon. Even the name Bill brought a little laughter whenever the character was addressed. An intentional mundane joke on names? Even when Dr. Bill flashed his credentials brought extra chuckles. "Everything seemed unreal: his home, his wife, his child, his profession, and even he himself, mechanically walking along through the nocturnal streets with his thoughts roaming through space," wrote Schnitzler, describing the erotically charged odyssey that Kubrick takes us on. With each step and each scene, the films glides into a similarly mysterious realm, unlocking new doors and paths to redemption. Music also plays a humorous role. We hear "I'm in the Mood for Love" and "I Only Have Eyes for You," playing as the Harfords mingle with the crowd, each being confronted by a sexual advance from strangers. Bill is even promised a trip "to the end of the rainbow". What Bill doesn't know is that in order to get there, he will have to journey through an abyss where sex and death an inextricably interwoven. Notice how "rainbow" figures into the name of the costume shop. Like a dream, small and odd details are layered into the narrative only to be revealed in later encounters. The Christmas lights only help to create the surreal atmosphere as bold red and blue colors spring to life. The door to the prostitute's apartment is red. The Hartford's bathroom is lit cool blue (the Blue Room?). Even the purple dress worn by the prostitute is also the color of the sheets Alice sleeps on. I'm sure after repeated viewings one could map ALL the subtle connections. The cast here is up for the game and challenge of the work. All the supporting players provide the perfect balance to Dr. Bill's journeyman. Even Leelee Sobieski as the naughty daughter of of the costume shop owner perfectly captures what Schnitzler describes " the smile of impish desire". The first conversation scene when she revealed her "secret" left me stunned. Wonderful to see "pot" used for such a probing dissection. Kidman here is nothing short of extrodinary. There is a close up which frames Kidman to the far right of the screen, as her story inches closer in detail that leaves me haunted. The reaction on Cruise's face was astonishing--giving us the closest thing to a "Kubrick stare" in the film. But this stare probes further than insanity (or does it?) and dives deep into the confidence and fears of every man. One thing Kubrick did brilliantly (among others) was show how a conversation with a woman, no matter how small or touching...can be turned around on the man in an instant. I've been waiting for a filmmaker to capture this on film for a long time. Leave it to Kubrick to break this ground. Is Bill aroused by female nudity while examining his patients? At the party, he cares for the od girl, never seeming to notice her nudity, but still has a careful interest in her. When Alice asks Bill, he protests that sex may be too near to death for comfort, which pretty much sums up the sex and death intertwined relationship. Even later on, in a morgue, when he examines Amanda, he bends to kiss a dead woman and discovers the taboo pleasure of necrophilia, which seems to serve as the final installment of his sexual journey. The story seems to be about a couple who cannot communicate. They know how to make love and do love each other...but the darker corners of their desires and dreams are not connecting. Cruise's journey can be taken literally or in a dream like state. Notice how her orgy dream and what he see's at the orgy are similar. Does she know? The novel would probably help any interested viewer of the film to unlock some of the key ideas. In fact, the film follows the original story very closely. (it took place in Vienna at the turn of the century. A doctor and wife go to a costume ball, are hit on by others, then the wife confesses a secret to the husband...which sends him on a journey of discovery about himself and his own jealously and obsessions. In the end, husband and wife stay up all night discussing their own fears, and are greeted by their daughter in the morning. (maybe this was a little too neat for Kubrick. See Frederick Raphael's book "Eyes Wide Open" for details on the construction of the script) In Schitzner's novel, he stressed the importance of dreams and fantasies in a relationship. In fact, one could assess that the entire story is in the form of one long dream. Now the film version roots itself in reality, which I thinks makes the dream state all the more real. There is no fuzzy 'flashback' type transition or other effect. Both states are weaved seamlessley together. I'm less sure about the "thriller" aspect of the story. But further thought has made me realize that each event leads to another. Man follows Dr. Bill, he buys paper, hides in coffee shop, reads about girl in hospital, etc. There is a kind of connect the dots to his journey. He must face all his sexual desires and dreams in order to come out the other end, then he must learn to share. Fear is a key part of dreams. It often takes us into areas where we feel frightened for our lives, even though we are dreaming. The film wants to explore this. Masks are used to a chilling and stunning effect. Both Bill and Alice are obviously wearing masks in their day-to-day life. The masks at the party come to life in surreal ways, probing Bill with stares of unknown origin. The mask at the end is also causing perplexed reactions. However, in the novel, the wife finds the mask and places it on the pillow to challenge her husband into revealing HIS dreams and desires. The wife somehow KNOWS his journey, but want him to confess to HER what it all is. For her own sexual satisfaction? Maybe. Isn't the key to a relationship a partnership of balance and trust? The hidden mask is an enigma. Why did Kubrick show it to us on the pillow BEFORE Cruise walks into the room? What preparation was intended for the viewer while we watch Bill mundanly come home, grab a beer from the fridge, then enter into his own bedroom (or icebox?) But this film contains no easy answers. Kubrick's approach to filmmaking has as much to do with reality as ambiguity. There will be A LOT of talk about this movie. And the great thing about a Kubrick film is that there is NO ONE interpretation, which I think enhances the personal experience. Notice how each encounter represents a type of sexual offer. The woman who's father has died. The hooker. The debutante. Even his masculinity is challenged by the punks on the street. Each encounter is disrupted by something (just like a dream?) that sends Cruise even deeper. This is climaxed by the orgy sequence. The woman offers to sacrifice herself, but you have to ask yourself how much is real, staged or just a dream. Here are some popular questions and my responses to them. 1) How do you think Dr. Bill's mask ended up on his pillow? Did his wife put it there (she does in the book)? But why? --Yes I think the wife found the mask and put it there. This is to challenge and confront him about his dreams and desires. Remember at the beginning, the wife knew exactly where his wallet was. That's because wives know everything (except his dreams and fantasies?) about what is in their house. She may have noticed the brown file folder laying out and gotten curious. But based from the novel, I'm pretty sure Alice put it there. The intent seems clear. 2) How did Amanda know it was Dr. Bill under that mask at the orgy? She obviously warned him to leave, but there was no way anyone could have told her it was him because she was in the circle as he arrived, and then she walked right up to him. Some speculate that the Amanda (Mandy) at the orgy is not the same Amanda that o.d.'s in the beginning. Apparently she has different nipples and hair color. --I think, and I'm not alone in this, that an acceptance of a dream-like state is essential to the workings of his journey. In dreams, events and people come and go and often you are not sure of the origin or relevance. But all of Cruise's encounters are replayed later, thus set up in reality and explored in a dream. Yes, I think it is Amanda at the orgy and YES she is the same girl that od's. (Just examine her nipples) Now how she knows it is him under the mask brings us back to the dream, where things like this are never known or explained. They just happen and we react. --The film is so tricky in presenting both reality and dreams as the same state. At least the look of the film is the same. But the surreal quality is presented throughout I think to put the audience in this state from the beginning. 3) Who do you think were the two masked people on the balcony that look at Dr. Bill and then nod to him? One was perhaps either Sidney Pollack's character or the Hungarian. I was toying with the fact that the female mask could have been Alice, Dr. Bill's wife, but I've thrown out that idea. And why did they nod at him? Perhaps they recognized him (from the name in the coat). But of course he did arrive late (purposely because of the costume rental owner) so he would be singled out. --I think the masked guy recognized a "new" visitor to the party. Even though they are masked and such, this "elite" group would know when someone new joins the party. Maybe that's why she picks him out? But again, in dreams, anything can happen and often does. --Also notice the great sly humor about sex in dreams. Each time Dr. Bill gets close to an encounter--something disrupts him--taking him into another direction. I know I have had this kind of experience in my own dreams. 4) What significance does Alice's "dream laughter" have to do with the prior orgy scene? She wakes up laughing and then proceeds to tell her husband that she dreamt she had sex with a bunch of men...one of them being the Naval officer. Hmmm. Was it just a coincidence that she dreamt of an "orgy" the same night her husband attended one? Her laughter is suspicious. If Dr. Bill was being lied to about the dangers of the orgy (as Pollack later admits) then this may warrant some laughter from the individuals involved. Perhaps Alice did have something to do with the orgy after all...but from a distance. --Alice's dreams and Dr. Bill's orgy are connected. Maybe the same. No coincidence. Somehow Alice is pushing Dr. Bill with her own dream confessions. She does this purposefully to attract a response or action. Her dream seems to almost reduce him to less of a man he thinks he is. The laughter part propels this. 5) Why did Nick Nightingale need a password? He claims he's played these parties a few times before, so they should recognize him. He never wears a mask. This is of course a way to get Dr. Bill to the orgy, but it still puzzles me...unless it was all a set-up involving Pollack, Nightingale, and others. --Everyone needed the password by way of formality, which a gathering of this type would almost certainly endorse. Adds to the secrecy of it all. THE LENGTH: Is the film too long? It IS a long haul, to be sure. On first viewing, I thought that maybe it could have been trimmed. On second viewing, the pace and length seemed more in focus. However, I think that if Kubrick had lived, he may have trimmed some of it after screening it for audiences (He had done this in the past for 2001 and The Shining). THE MUSIC: As per standard with a Kubrick film, each selection is carefully and purposefully chosen. The haunting piano notes seem to cause a variety of reactions, but I found them to be almost spine tingling. Ambient music by Joycelyn Pook (Confession scene, orgy, etc) was very effective. Other classical choices fit mood and atmosphere. THE CAMERA: Even though Kubrick had not made a film in 12 years, each camera set up and shot had the consistent style that has marked all of his work. The long one take shots and deliberate pacing draw the viewer into the film in unfamiliar ways. We ALSO become a part of the journey. Kubrick's films are almost like an experience, something beyond what most conventional movies shoot for. Each shot is almost a painting in itself. Lot's to consider here. THE ORGY: Mixed reactions on this one. Yes it is very creepy and always fascinating, but as earlier reports indicate, the 65 seconds "digital cover-up" as Dr. Bill walks through the house were not only VERY NOTICEABLE to me, but alas not needed. This is most noticeable when Dr. Bill walks into the room with the several women in an orgy, there is a single black cloaked figure blocking the action. But when we cut back to Dr. Bill walking through, the figure is no longer there. Also, when the girls in the circle de-robe, they are topless, but wearing a bottom. This also seems like a compromise. They should have been fully nude for the entire effect. Notice when the another girl in a mask approaches Dr. Bill, she is NOT wearing her bottoms. Also, when the girl who led him from the main room leaves, she return not wearing her bottoms (although she could have been busy in the interval) This is just technical nit-picking, but I think that the atmosphere and effectiveness was "watered down" by MPAA considerations. Maybe 12 women completely naked in a circle would have been too much. But considering Kubrick's other films, the fact they have on bottoms seems more cautionary than necessary. Overall, a very creepy and fascinating scene. Frederick Raphael reveals the origins of this scene in his book. Apparently, it was all made up and NOT based on actual events. But I have little doubt that this kind of activity and more occurs in the dark corners of human activity. THE ENDING: This is a film that does not end with easy answers or reassuring certainies. But the final scene and final line between Bill and Alice (for me) sums up everything with a humanity and compassion that is seldom seen in Kubrick's work. There is a sense of hope for the couple. "Life goes on," Pollack's character says cynically late in the film. "It always does, until it doesn't." With this sentiment, Kubrick has left a final and perhaps hopeful message. In what may be the riskiest film in his career, the man who could create a new universe with each film chooses the bedroom as the final frontier. All the mystery and mystique of sexuality becomes a canvas of exploration and ideas. Kubrick's final film will likely have a long shelf life like his others. Remember "Barry Lyndon" was pretty much received with mixed reviews and reactions, but it is the one film in the director's body of work that consistently surprises and impresses me with repeat viewings. It may THE example of a kind of cinema Kubrick was searching for. Same can be said for "Eyes Wide Shut". And while most films disappear from the mind in a matter of days, I feel that this film's haunting shadow will lurk long into the future. THE GAFFS: A popular topic among Kubrick fanatics. Although YES he is a perfectionist, as any filmmaker knows, certain inconsistencies DO occur when making a film. Especially when choosing a shot for performance instead of technical blocking perfection. Some obversations and questions include: Did you notice the crew member reflected in the mirrored column in the bathroom? In the newsgroup this has become the new "Shining" helicopter shadow. Also, apparently the billiard balls change positions, the same mailbox appears on every street, and the presents under Dr. Bill's tree move around by themselves. People are actually noticing this shit...and make a point to stress their existence. On the fun side, there's a business banner that says "Bowman", and a Mission Impossible video box that appears in the background of the pot smoking scene. Speaking of pot, I thought I saw a pot plant in their house...but I may have been mistaken. --I did not notice the figure in the mirror. Same with the presents. Billiard balls I considered, but ultimately forgot as I was watching the performances. Although Pollack does change positions while in the chair. Also, on the street, when the prostitute first walks up to Dr. Bill, camera angle changes and her arms are different. Does this matter? Ultimately not. With a Kubrick film it's interesting and fun to point out, but Kubrick always said he choice performance over anything thing else. So what's to debate about that? Nothing described distracted me from the overall viewing. THE CAMEO: Was that Stanley sitting in the background of the jazz club? Most people seem to think so (or hope so). --I saw this fellow also and considered the same thing. Although, his hair seemed different, he was wearing glasses. Maybe it is him, it LOOKS like him. Perhaps Stanley made a first and final appearance in one his films. Sadly, it was his last. -- 22 july 1999

The people that do not appreciate this film are the same people that never knew what the subject matter was to begin with. Kubrick's people first identified the project as a thriller about sexual obsession and jealousy, not a glorified porno film featuring two hollywood stars. It deals with the origins of monogamy and the aim-inhibited sexual desires that Freud talks of in many of his works. Anyone who listens to the soliloquy that Kidman delivers and doesn't find their minds pondering the nuances of sexuality is kidding themselves or denying their own sexual instincts. Take a good look at the film with an open mind and Kubrick's genius will truely amaze you. --

Dan Leathers (snowy@nauticom.net) wrote:
A+ a 10! -- 7/23/99

Jeremy Wolfe (CONVICT_24601@HOTMAIL.COM) wrote:
Unrelenting like them man himself, Kubricks EWS is without appeal to any Hollywood contrivance - it is art. It's intensity is palpable, and it's zero tolerance policy for bullshit(no pseudo-emtional tap dancing)is refreshing, if not completely overwhelming. Not for one second in this film did I feel an inkling of a threat to my "will"ingness to suspend my disbelief. There was no "will"...just straight out acceptance. WHY? Kubrick made it real. He takes Cruise and Kidman, makes them be with each other day in, day out for two years and has them spit lines to each other that confront the truly basic truths and nightmarish fears of any married couple. My hat's off to the actors, the emotional stress of this film alone is a testament to their conviction as artists and to each other. Every scene, every moment, every word is blistering with a symbiosis of reality and subtle creative guidance. The score is seething, and acts as an aggressive punctuation to each rise in conflict. The cinematography is dynamic,yet there is a purity to every shot, a sort of clarity of vision that caries through despite the obvious changes lightplay and composition. I can say what and how a piece of art makes feel. I'm no technical genius, I just like good films. EWS is in my humble opinion a complete film, worthy of deeming a masterwork, and demanding its appreciation as a piece of cinematic artistry. -- July 22nd, 1999

chris (chrismon@umich.edu) wrote:
Nothing I can write will do justice to this film, nor can any words replace the emptiness I felt when the credits rolled and I realized that there will be no more Kubrick films. EWS is classic Kubrick and beyond, proving that a great artist can always innovate. This site is one of the few places I've seen intelligent reviews and commentary on this work. Relatively few critics or viewers have the necessary skills to evaluate this film. It requires too much attention to the details of visual and aural narrative that Kubrick mastered like no other film-maker. I cannot write a real review at this point. It will take me another couple of viewings before it can sink in. What is the point of a review anyway? This is a work of art that people who appreciate art will want to see. The only shortcoming I saw was the digital censoring of the ball scene. I sincerely hope that film lovers will roundly condemn this outrageous act of puritanical nonsense and force a release of an uncensored version. Even so, Kubrick has achieved another masterpiece that will have us talking and thinking forever. Thank you, Stanley, wherever you are. And thanks for maintaining this excellent site. -- 7/24/99

Frank M (bonehead48655@yahoo.com) wrote:
everyone expected a porno and a story showed up. Way to go Stanley! Im so glad im the only one in the theatre who loved it...He never caved in to audience expectations. That is the sighn of the TRUE artist. ***** (5 of 5 stars) -- 7/24/99

jason ferguson (glowforce@yahoo.com) wrote:
I waited as long as I could to put off seeing this film to get a good seat in a quiet room. At the end of the movie I had the worst back ache because I had not shifted in my seat the entire time. Leaving the theater I was so disappointed and depressed, not because of the movie (which was predictably incredable and Kubrick), but because thats it. No more. Nobody does it like Kubrick. -- 7/24/99

Matt Ford (MattEFord@aol.com) wrote:
Quite possibly the most visualy exciting film I have ever seen. Without a doubt the most exciting i have seen in years. Almost every frame of it could be displayed as a still photograph and retain its beauty. The use of color throughout the film brought back the feeling I had as a child when Dorothy opened the door on Oz. I hope that this is a step to free filmmakers, as the impresionists freed painters to paint what they feel not just what they see. In an almost completely full theatre, I didn't hear a single sound aside from gasps from the audience for the nearly 3 hours. The second we emerged as a crowd from the dark everyone burst into conversation. Love it or hate it, no one left the theatre without feeling something. I could praise further, but I will leave that task to the rest of you. I instead end with a message to Stanley, where-ever his spirit may be. Stanley, you are one screwed up guy, and I love every bit of it. I just was wondering, whats the signifigance of the Christmas trees? -- it's Saturday

ART (porchmonkey2001@hotmail.com) wrote:
Come, come, come my little droogies. Eyes Wide Shut may very well be the masterpiece of the master. Two years I have been waiting to see this highly anticipated film, for which Stanley had stopped the production of the promissing AI, and finally the day came. The movie did not exceed my expectations; it perfectly matched. But I'm not going to talk about the whole film. I would like to mention just one scene, which still gives me the shivers. I have seen the picture twice, first time on the opening night and then a couple of days after it. After Cruise and Kidman have a "serious"? conversation when they get high, Cruise gets a phone call from one of his patients. When he comes over to the woman, who called him, it is obvious that she is in love with the young, handsome doctor. The really disturbing part of the scene, however, is how her father dies. She tells him about it, and from that information, Cruise states that the man died peacefully in his sleep. Isn't that the exact description of Kubrick's unfortunate departure?! In a lot of his films (A Clockwork Orange is a perfect example) the theme of dying peacefully constantly reoccurs, and finally he is gone. I am not sure what to think or what point I am trying to make here, but perhaps the master prophecized his own death? Well, in any case, the film deserves at least two thumbs up, and like many other movies by Kubrick (perhaps all) requires multiple viewings. Many people with whom I went to see it found it boring and slowdeveloping and blah... blah... If someone tries to tell you anything of this sort, disregard and see it for yourself. Eyes Wide Shut truly is a piece of art, and if you are looking for something which is more than pure enterntaiment, the film is a must see. May Stanley Kubrick rest in peace, and although he had only made 13 films, he defined the concept of aesthetic cinema better than any other director. Enjoy his last painting. ART -- 07/25/99

A very painful experience for a Kubrick fan. His final film is disjointed, tedious and, given its subject matter, ineffectual. Even the visuals seemed somewhat lackluster or, at least, unspectacular, given the power and magic we've come to expect from Kubrick. The review by the NY Post critic on this homepage gives an accurate assessment of the film. :( -- 7-25-99

Honsill Jenkins (garhep@yahoo.com) wrote:
The best film of the 1999 movie year to date. Kubrick- the movie make who does not pander to the audience with systematic crowd pleasing scene's, but with his own personal vision. This movie is sure to get some negative reviews, as even "2001" and all other Kubrick movies have. A mysterious movie to be sure. -- 07/27/99

Jim (alien@iglou.com) wrote:
People going into Eyes Wide Shut expecting a sex film, or a film centered on sex, will be sadly disappointed. Sex is an important aspect of the film, but not the most intriguing and certainly not the source of the disturbed state in which one will leave the theater if they look beyond the naked bodies (and there aren't that many) and kinky sex (almost absent, unless you're a prude). If one watches Eyes Wide Shut for the sex alone, they'll soon realize they spent $7 for a dressed-up Red Shoe Diaries. The film cannot be appreciated in such simplistic terms. The film uses sex as a tool, a way to illustrate the similarities between dreams and reality. The characters exist in a world that looks like the wicked stepmother of our own. The streets are barren, the days and nights bleed into each other. It's the world as we see it inside our heads, inside of dreams. Real, not real, and realer than real, all at the same time. In this realer-than-real world, whether your eyes are open wide or tightly sealed, you see the same things. The film unravels in a seemingly illogical, improbable (and, yes, sometimes boring) series of events that, eerily, make perfect sense while, at the same time, making no sense at all. The dialogue is slow and repetitive, resembling the way we speak silently to ourselves. The plot moves as if being born, piece by piece, from someone's mind. Combined with Kubrick's almost painfully deliberate directing, it becomes an intimate, articulate presentation of the workings of another human's brain. A dream made tangible in the daylight. In the end, the film asserts that dreams and reality are not disparate entities. Dreams are as much a part of what we are, how we feel, and how we interact with others as the world outside of us. Dreams can hurt us, heal us, free us, or imprison us. At the end of the day, dreams are reality. My one gripe with the film is the sex, and I don't mean the digital masking, although I didn't see anything in the film that would warrant it. I've seen much "worse" in R-rated films, even without the CGI roadblocks. The "orgy" is meant to shock and disturb us. Kubrick obviously intended the scene to be too kinky for words, to be something we'd never allow ourselves to imagine outside the realm of dreams. But the sex involved is not that kinky. In a nutshell, it's a bunch of people having one-on-one missionary sex in different rooms of a very large house with a few people watching them. That's not disturbing. That's every night of the week on a webcam site. I think this failed attempt at shocking and disturbing makes the road to "getting" the film much rockier than Kubrick intended. And, certainly, the digital masking didn't make it any easier. But this is a small gripe, in no way reducing the beauty of the film or it's meaning. This may not be Kubrick's best film, but it is certainly his most intimate. -- 7-26-99

meggi magyar (?) wrote:
im stunned, dude! -- 2day

Jon (j_c_n@yahoo.com) wrote:
Yes, today would have been Mr. Kubrick's 71st birthday. Very sad. I've now seen EWS twice, and I still don't think I have a proper handle on it. Suffice to say that I enjoyed it more the 2nd time, and I still can't get it out of my head. I can't help thinking that if Kubrick were alive, he might have trimmed the last part (as he trimmed 19 minutes from 2001. However, as with most of his films, the viewer has to completely surrender to the film's own logic. I also can't help thinking that sex is a red herring here, and the film is really about class - in much the same way Barry Lyndon and The Shining are. They say the dream dreams the dreamer....nothing and no one are what it or they seem to be..... -- 7/26/99

Doug (ratt56@pacbell.net) wrote:
After reading all these reviews, I feel even more that EWS is the one of the biggest hype jobs of the nineties than I did when I left the theater. Did Kubrick actually edit this film before he died, and, if so, what was he thinking? The film felt to me like it was stuck together with scotch tape, and several scenes (notably the hooker and the grieving daughter who makes a pass at Tom Cruise) seemed designed to be "red herrings" that added absolutely nothing to the plot. I thought "Clockwork Orange" was a masterpiece when it came out and years ahead of its time. "Eyes Wide Shut" may be nice to look at visually, but that hardly qualifies it as a "work of art..." Nicle Kidman's performance (Was... that... supposed... to.... be... intense... or... what?) and a very confused script made the two years I waited to see this film a real disappointment for me. I also disagree with the people who say this film wasn't about sex... it was clearly a comment on contemporary morals and commitment... but the way it presented sex reminded me of an eighties issue of Playboy, with beautiful, large-breasted women (even the patient Tom Cruise is examining in his office looked like an airbrushed model). And that "shocking" revelation about AIDS... AIDS has been around for almost fifteen years! I'm amazed at how much people are analyzing and reading so much into this film. I think Kubrick's last movie is a failure... he was a great filmmaker and known for being a total perfectionist, and in this case, I think "EWS" was done so mechanically that there's very little life or real logic left to it. Just another opinion. -- July 27, 1999

Ethan G. Jones (precision69@usa.net) wrote:
It helps to both see a film several times, and collect opinions on it, when forming a solid opinion for oneself. Last night I saw EWS for the second time, and came to the realization of several things; The first was the reaffirmation that it really is a joy to view a film where there is no question that the director was thinking about ALL that occupies his frame and WHY it's there. The second is that a complex story is really there to be experienced subjectively and not pigeonholed like so much other bullshit we're often seduced into dropping nearly ten dollars for at the local cinema. The third is that I truly believe that any film artist should retain what's known as "final-cut", for there were several elements of the film, already suitably observed by the other members of your review page, that didn't "fit" given what we know and love and (dare I say), expect from Mr. Kubrick. I don't believe that these "red herrings" were entirely his doing. I have read the memoir by screenwrtiter Frederick Raphael, and there were many revealing things in it about Kubrick, and his intentions with the story. This informed my second viewing, but shouldn't have. In it, S.K. asks about a number of things;"..yes, but is there a movie in it?" Even about Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle he asks the same question to F.R. Regardless, EWS is a work of art and needs to be judged as such, through one's own eyes and no one else's. Would you believe what everyone said about the paintings in the Sistine Chapel? -- 7/27/99

cindy (cindy@aculink.net) wrote:
i thought it was stupid. it had no plot that made any sense whatsoever. why isn't there ever any nude men? -- 07-27-99

Stanley kubrick's final film,EYES WIDE SHUT was a masterpiece ! kubrick did a wonderful job on the sets, the lighting, the story, everything was great about this film.It is so sad that we will never be able to see another film by Master film maker Stanley kubrick.If you haven't seen this film GO SEE IT !!!!!!! Thank God for Stanley Kubrick ! this film will go on to be another classic film, by a awesome filmaker at the peak of his craft. -- JULY 24,1999

Steve (schantos@msn.com) wrote:
As I've digested this film, all I can still really come away with is a profile of one woman's dysfunctional revelation and utter narcissism, and her husband's equally dysfunctional response to it. The entire odyssey is predicated on Alice's nuttiness to begin with and so makes it difficult, if not impossible, to invest in from the outset. I think SK presented some interesting facets of sexuality, sex, and the accompanying psychologies, but they were nothing new or astonishing. I hope we Kubrick fans will allow him shortcomings just like the rest of us. It doesn't diminish his considerable, past achievements to admit to oneself that he fell short of the mark here. Even so, Nicholson's appropriation of praise (from an NFL coach for his star player) for Kubrick still rings true - "If he wasn't in a class by himself, it don't take long to call the roll..." Maybe this film simply reinforces that all of us, even masters of psychology like SK, are unable to explain the mysteries and intricacies of sexuality in its entirety. -- 7-27

John (Jonancal@aol.com) wrote:
Yes I have a complaint ! I wrote my comments/review the day after I saw Eyes Wide Shuta week ago and yet my two cents worth never appeared in this entity. Do you pick and choose and heavan forbid even censor people's comments ? -- July 18, 1999

John (Jonancal@aol.com) wrote:
Well, my complaint made it in . . . maybe there is hope for my review. Although it was not his best, I thorougly enjoyed the movie especially the earliest part which I found very suspensful. K made N Kiddman the most sensual women I have ever seen in a movie bar none. The most difficult thing to accept though was Tom Cruise as a medical doctor - spy, pilot, handicapped veteran yes but Doctor No. The one thing that really pisses me off is that Kubrick sold out to the censors. I dont care if the impact was minor or not. This is a director who shoots and reshoots a scene over and over and over until it is exactly what he wants. How could he sell out just to get an acceptable rating ? ? ? Clockwork Orange is still his best and most on the cutting edge - especially when you consider when it was made ! ! ! -- July28 1999

E. Steven Fried (sfried@hotmail.com) wrote:
"Eyes Wide Shut" is one of the best Kubrick films I've seen and I completely adore it. I have been enjoying many of the comments on this site, as well as the IMDB, and find a greater wealth of intelligence and understanding here than in most critical reviews I've read. I really have nothing to add to the wonderful commentary on the film, but I do have a few questions and would love to hear anyone's response via e-mail. One of the things I found most intruiging about the film was Stanley's use of New York. As a long-time resident of the city I was stunned by the visual accuracy of the depiction, given that it was wholly created in England. Yes, it didn't look exactly like Lower Manhattan (more like a pastiche of that area and the Upper East Side), but the resemblance was remarkable. I kept wondering, as I was watching, how on earth did he pull this off? I could well imagine some of the streets simply being dressed in NYC trappings (i.e. lampposts, street signs, mail-boxes, trash-cans, newspaper vending machines, etc.), but there were wider shots, containing more detail, that seemed almost impossible to have been done as gussied up fabrications. I am thinking, in particular, of a scene where Cruise appears to be driving over the Verrazano bridge. Does anyone know if Kubrick had any scenic or location work done stateside? It certainly wouldn't have been the first time. I understand that for the helicopter scenics in "The Shining" he had a satellite feed hooked-up so he could direct from abroad. Was any such thing done for EWS? I know CGI could be an alternative explanation but, aside from the orgy scene, I didn't detect any use of computer generated effects. I would love as detailed a response as anyone can muster. Now, although I found the visual simulation of NYC to be quite stunning,I couldn't but help notice that the population in this city was quite overwhelmingly devoid of any non-white residents. Hell, Stan's New York is even whiter than Woody Allen's! Now, I know that Kubrick had been living in England for a long time and that he didn't get out as much as the average fella, but he was way too smart and plugged-in to overlook such a major detail (unlike Allen, who really does live in a fog of insulated luxury). So, I assume there was a reason why he chose such a Eurocentric vision of the city. My personal guess is that a) as an enormous Europhile he was simply drawn to Continental types and b) he wanted very much to forge a parallel between contemporary New York and early 20th century Vienna. Am I on the right track? -- 07/29/99

Doreen (djtwins2@aol.com) wrote:
thought the movie was to long,strange and sexually wierd and thought it was beneath her ; -- July 29, 1999

Julie (Julzee17@aol.com) wrote:
My husband and I tend to pick movies we go to see carefully since it is too expensive to just see anything and everything.He wanted to see EWS because he is a big Kubrick fan, especially of 2001, but I was a tad reluctant because I was listening to critics. Once again I have been reminded that I shouldn't listen to critics because they don't know much!!! My husband knew what to expect from a Kubrick film, and I decided to give EWS a chance. It was pretty compelling, thought provoking and not at all what I expected. I figured I'd have to sit thru Nicole Kidman disrobing at every turn, but that was not the case (critics!!).I don't particularly care for Kidman, she doesn't seem to have much depth as an actress, and I was bored waiting for her to finish her monologues. I think they could have gotten a better actress to play her role, one who would have been more Cruise's equal in talent. But since Tom basically carried the film, I could endure Nicole. I would have liked to see Tom nekkid as often as Nicole..but alas. Eyes Wide Shut is a rare movie, one that makes you question every scene and makes you draw your own conclusions..and everyone's conclusion is bound to be different. Too bad there aren't enough filmmakers out there who value an audience's mind instead of their wallet. We plan on renting some earlier Kubrick movies in order to expand my mind..if you want to be challenged in the theatre for a change instead of being mindlessly entertained, go see Eyes. -- 7/29/99

Diego Waisman (perceo@icubed.com) wrote:
As a apocaliptic and ending century masterpiece, Kubricks film gives to the audience that extreme feeling, as he usually did, that nothing really matters. Money, family, the society itself. Eye Wide Shut could have some flows as neverending scenes or cameramen reflections, but It's for sure one of the best Kubrick's films -- 07/30/99

CERisE...Thatsa Me (cerise@geocities.com) wrote:
After having seen Eyes Wide Shut 3 times, I think I'm well justified in saying that the 2nd time is really the best. It was such a well done movie, truly among Kubrick's best. I feel badly that it's picked up the air of a pornographic movie. I can't imagine anything further from the truth. I read somewhere that his wife said it has everything to do with fear and nothing to do with sex. I'm not quite sure that's the case, but someone needs to repeat it 8) The first time I saw it, my legs were a little shaky. A large part of the ambience is the music. Between the classical pieces early on, the jazz in the prostitute's apartment, and the eerie operatic pieces, this movie could have almost been silent and come off with the same effect. Oh, btw, I liked it a lot 8) -- July 30, 1999

Bobman (Magibob@yahoo.com) wrote:
This is not a porno flick as the critics would have you believe but an exercise into temptations denied. There is a very "unfinished" quality to this film. There are "ugly" cuts that one would not expect in a Kubrick film. The scene where Cruise's character rents a costume is not well acted and doesn't ring with truth. There are unfinished questions...what becomes the daughter of the deadman? who really is the woman at the ball, and how did she know who he was? Who was the nodding man?? Beyond these questions there were great elements in this film. The pot confession scene. My wife, and I laughed with recognition quite a bit during this as we had had similar conversations. Why she felt the need to psychically "hurt" him thru her confession is questionable but it drives the rest of the movie. Temptation and jealous revenge motivate him yet he is constantly thwarted by interruptions. Had these not occured, would he have succumbed? Kubrick is a master at giving you just enough to make you question and think, but leaving concrete answers open. This is a chilling film, and beautifully shot. I loved the music during the ball...very dramatic. The use of a piano score to underscore the absent "presence" of the pianist lends danger to the scene. But once again, nothing happens, as if the mundane lives we lead are just that, mundane though the world around us basks in the oil of involvement. Hollywood, leave the art of the Masters alone and give us the directors cut, whether it's nc-17 or unrated or what. The morals in this film, of committment, family, passion, even in the face of too much familiarity speak to us with out you having to censor it. Censor youself, let art live. -- 7/30/99

Dave Mitsky (djm28@psu.edu) wrote:
"Eyes Wide Shut" was surprisingly unerotic and was filled with stilted dialogue and even more stilted acting by Cruise and Kidman. Was this pretentious waste of time really directed by the same man who made "2001", "A Clockwork Orange", "Dr. Strangelove", "Paths of Glory", and "Spartacus"? Dave Mitsky -- 08/02/99

Greg Barone (gregbarone@prodigy.net) wrote:
As we read the mixed reviews and witness the poor box office performance of EWS, we should take heart in the fact that Kubrick himself seemed proud that his films take time to be appreciated. It is a testament to their originality. -- 8/2/99

jason valentin (jason.valentin@edu.gov.on.ca) wrote:
The Kubrick lighting alone makes this film a pleasure to watch. A deceptively deep story that I must see again. -- August 3

Eyes wide shut is magnificent! It's both depressing and amusing that the critics, including those who gave it positive reviews, don't "get" EWS. I think it will take quite a while for people to catch up to this film. Just one note- why do people believe that Sydney Pollack's explanation tied things up neatly. Nothing could be further from the truth! Oh, and the last line is brilliant! -- 7/4

Peter Waal (pwaal@lionsgate-ent.com) wrote:
This is a bad movie. I think 2001 and Clockwork Orange are two of the best films ever made. Eyes has some virtuoso MOMENTS. It also has some pretty lamentable ones, too. Mediocre Kubrick is painful to watch. -- 05August99

Greg Sherington (gregs@extrels.usyd.edu.au) wrote:
I must see it again. I left the cinema stunned. While all Kubrick films end on a unique and perplexing note, I felt that "Eyes Wide Shut" contained an ending that truly left the film open to the strongest degree of uncertainty, awe, wonder, and ambiguity any Kubrick film has instilled in me. I have never seen a film where I questioned the nature of reality versus a dream-like state so intensely. Following the climax of the orgy my appreciation of each frame strengthened as I tried to interpret the film's many levels. There is something going on. I think I know what the film's many mysteries are but I wish not to come to grips with them until at least a second viewing. I often wondered when it was reported that Kubrick believed that this was his best film ever. Now I know why. He has left the world a mysterious work of art that will undoubtedly be reassesed once the media hype has descended. Just a few things. Did anyone notice two characters wearing masks once Bill tried to come to terms with the night before? For instance, in the background of the coffee shop adjacent to the Jazz club, there is someone in the background whose reflection in the mirror behind Bill shows they're wearing a mask. Similarly, my girlfriend pointed out that in a distant shot of Bill entering the Hotel where Nightingale is supposed to be staying, there's someone who either passes the postbox outside or is putting mail in it, and they're wearing a mask. Just a dream? Also, Ziegler's conversation with Bill about the fact that the Orgy's threat was just a charade. I feel that Ziegler thinks Bill believes the woman that tried to warn him was the same that overdosed on a speedball at Ziegler's party. Clearly the woman in the morgue and the other were not the same. However, what's even more disturbing is when Bill stops to watch one of the proceedings at the Orgy one masked spectator walks up just behind him with a naked masked woman and gestures towards Bill. For my mind this second woman is the one who overdosed in the bathroom and the masked man is Ziegler. I haven't read all interpretations so it's probably not a new one. And, of course, where did the mask come from when Bill returns the second night. Ah, the beauty of Kubrick. Life is but a dreaming state. -- 6 August 1999

Greg Sherington (gregs@extrels.usyd.edu.au) wrote:
I'd also just like to add that I saw it in Australia without the digital figures. Thank the lord. Bill's progression through the various rooms was majestic and frightening at the same type. To have ridiculous figures masking the action would have been ludricrous. The film was rated 'R' in Australia which is the exact same as NC-17, except we have a separate category for pornography ('X' rating) I thought our Classification practices were lame. -- 6 August 1999

ADRON SEDILLOS (EGar407105@aol.com) wrote:
"Eyes Wide Shut" is a masterful film. I left the theatre witha sort of exhileration from finiall getting to see a truly great movie, which does.t happen often at all. Just as he had done every time before, Kubrick makes a film vastly different from the one which preceeded it, yet covers the same psychological territory as all the films he had made before. I found the atmosphere to be very well done. We go from a classy Christmas ball with soft music and joy then BAM! shock! A nude party guest is thrown into the screen who has O.D.'d. And a man who we thought was nice zipping up his pants to greet Dr. Bill in a secluded bathroom. From class to stark depravity like that! Such moments are classic in Kubrick's films and this one is no exception. Masterpiece? Maybe, maybe not. As time goes by we will see if the film holds up as well as the rest. Stanley kubrick's films are always the wine next to the Cool Aid at the party. Always better with another drink and always getting better with age. -- 8/4/99

Michael Smith
"Eyes Wide Shut" is a totally unique and spellbinding blend of reality and surrealism that lets me believe that art and man's quest for introspection are still alive. It is amazing that a man can see as far within himself as he could see into the furures of space, technology and evolution. The film will almost certainly flop, because it requires thought. Thank you, Stanly Kubrick, for showing us a little of your vision and a lot about ourselves. -- 8/9/99

artem (porchmonkey2001@hotmail.com) wrote:
The funny thing is that even the bad reviews are reviews. People are talking and thinking about Eyes Wide Shut and will keep talking and thinking about it for a while because they are amazed. It doesn't matter whether the audience likes the show or does not, what really matters is that people are strongly affected by the movie. Even those who give "bad" reviews still care to spend their time on this website to give a review. And mixed reviews are usually the sign of greatness and complexity of the work. I think Eyes Wide Shut, A Clockwork Orange, and Full Metal Jacket are the best movies by Stanley Kubrick. Although other movies by Kubrick also show human beings as they really are, those three are the most precise, intense, and haunting. Dreams, temptation, sexual obsession - whatever. Similarly to A Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut is about animals. It is about us, fierce creatures motivated by rudimentary drives that are a killer instinct (FMJ), sexual desire (EWS), or both (A Clockwork Orange). People respond strongly to Kubrick's films because he paints an unsettling yet very precise psychological profile of any human being. Be it Alex Burgess, who adores the good, old, in-out, Joker, who would rather live in the world of shit than die, or Alice Harford, whose love for her husband is tender and sad, they are all perfect stereotypes of people who lived, live, and will live. Although oftentimes surreal, there is a lot of great actuality in Kubrick's films. Kubrick is Freud of modern film, and like Freud had been, Kubrick and his work will be worshipped and bellittled. But no matter what, both Kubrick and Freud made a break through in their field of study and that is why their existence is worth remembering and studying. Many human traits resemeble those of animals, and though we are aversed by certain types of behavior, we cannot change who we are, for genetics may well be the strongest bond between the past, the presentl, and the future. Human beings are animals that think and think that they have a soul. Kubrick knew that too well and he mastered the presentation of these morbid concepts. I wish I could have met Stanley Kubrick. It is needless to say that Eyes Wide Shut is a must see for a Kubrick fan. However, for those unfamiliar with the work of the great master, this may not be the best film to become aquainted with the most influential director of the century, although undeniably Eyes Wide Shut is the best movie out there at this point. Like it or hate it, Eyes Wide Shut will definitely leave the movie theater with you, and if you find it tedious, go and enjoy Wild Wild West. -- 08/09/99

Rowan Isaacs (rowan@tpevents,com,au) wrote:
I found this masterpeice to be very criptic, I have only seen the film once and would like to see it a second time I would appreciate any feed beck in relation to the plot and hidden meanings so that I can full undestand what this amazing director was trying to show it viewers. -- 10/08/99

Rowan Isaacs (rowan@tpevents.com.au) wrote:
I found this masterpeice to be very criptic, I have only seen the film once and would like to see it a second time I would appreciate any feed beck in relation to the plot and hidden meanings so that I can full undestand what this amazing director was trying to show it viewers. -- 10/08/99

paul yoes (vanfan25@hotmail.com) wrote:
great movie which will misunderstood by most reviewers Stanley was a genius and as most genius'. he was never appreciated good work Stanley, we will never meet again. --

KubrickWelles (defscam@aol.com) wrote:
Eyes wide shut is the greatest film i ever seen.I couldn't help but notice a few things about this flick.First the incredible use of backlight and primary colors.Second,Every person that Dr.Bill came in contact with was sexually suggestive to him.The acting was superb, as with most all of Stanley's films supporting actors have extremely key roles. Cruise's performance reminded me of Jack Nicoholson's charm in "the shining".Kidman (who basically didn't have much screen time) was brilliant and deserves the best actress award for the yesr.The music, well the music gave chills down my spine, i didn't know if i was scarred or if i was dreaming, that's why this movie needs multiple viewings! Kubrick's production was as always outstanding, i didn't need to care about the characters, the message of the movie was far greater important than the acting itself. And that message was should we really believe what our eyes are seeing,chances we take and opportunitys lost! This is the film in my opinion is what Stanley wanted to do with all of his films combined.Nick Nightingale is the biggest mystery in cinema since rosebud,and since we are on the subject of rosebud. "Eyes wide shut" is the most important film since "Citizen Kane"! If you thought it was boring or slow paced, you didn't understand the real meaning and i'd have to say your open eyes were wide closed! -- 8/10/99

Michael (davismule@surfree.com) wrote:
The critics missed the boat on this one. After reading them, I was worried my hero had faultered. Shame on me. I saw it last night and can't get it out of my head. PERFECTION! Beyond my wildest dreams. I was drunk and drowning in the world of Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick has always stressed that EVERY element(no matter how tiny) of a film has to be there with a purpose of pushing and directing the other elements in a deliberate direction. This film is complete. The essence of his philosophy shown like none of his other films. The rooms. The streets. The streets. The rooms. Gorgeous lights and gorgeous eyes. Time to feel every inch of the film's intensity. Each stroke of the piano driving the light deeper into your guts. Each shot of Cruise just long enough to crawl in. Every edit one page closer. On and on, deeper and wider, and just as you get a leg's length to the bottom, Kubrick pulls you back up to the surface. Fast but not enough to kill you and then he gives you a polite kick in the butt, with a grin, as if to tell you that you've done good, now get out. I loved it. I loved every second of it. However, I can't believe the critic's viewed the same film. Their arguments come off as high school essays. No story? Loose ends? I.D. cards? Boringly aesthetic orgy? The story may be deep but I wouldn't have thought it was over your heads. I was with Dr. Harford the entire time. Could it be that you passed up his mind for peering over his shoulder hoping to glimpse another tit. The way you wrote about the sex in the film supports this and the high school essay theory. What do you need to know? Is the pianist really in Seattle? OK, the answer is yes... errr.. um.. no... or Where would you like him to be? Put him in Brazil if you'd like. You tell me and I will put it on a spoon for you. Was that really a drug overdose or murder? Oooohh... uh... no... wait, I mean yes... I mean why does Kubrick have to tie your shoes for you? Speaking of shoes, we didn't find out at the end of the movie if Dr. Harford ties them with double or single knots. Talk about loose ends! When I was 19 years old and wanted to buy some beer I used to use my military I.D. I was still two years under the drinking age and I'd try to con the clerk into thinking military personel are are exempt from such civilian laws. You know, it worked more times than not. Now if I had been a doctor at 19? The "orgy" seen... you're right. Kubrick should have added some explosions. Had some tracer bullets zipping past the doctor's head as he ran and dove through women's legs and dodged flame-throwing nipples and bald-headed men wielding large, spiked, bald heads. What can I say? One good thing has come from the critic's reviews. We now know who has the sense for film and who doesn't. Critics aside, there is a sad point in this film. Such a perfect , beautiful, and most personal film cannot be followed by another. His next project, possibly A.I. Can you imagine the film that would have mixed his love for the technical with the new intensely personal filmmaking he's shown here. Oh man, Oh man, Oh man. A+ -- 8/11/99

Glen Stephens (Stalky76@hotmail.com) wrote:
To me, this film had two distinct sides to it, the first being the heavy tone of eroticism throughout and the second being the nervous tension. Both of these things just move along slowly with the film, sometimes one being more prominent than the other, producing a very ominous feel to it. I thouroughly enjoyed the film, it was shot beautifully, and the colours were amazing. -- 11/8/99

Travis Besst (sboyd1@neo.rr.com) wrote:
After seeing "Eyes Wide Shut" twice I've come to the coclusion that it is a very good film, but not a great one. I can't help thinking that, had Kubrick lived, he may of tinkered with it a bit more. Some people have called it cryptic, but I see it as uncharacteristically uncryptic for Kubrick. There is a powerful sexual allegory here, and I think it could have been deepened had Kubrick left out some of the more pandering aspects of the film ( a couple of ridiculous voiceovers and Harfords TV movie-like black and white fantasy thoughts of his wife with the sailor, to name two). Also I found Jocelyn Pook's score to be disappointingly pedestrian, particularly during the scene of Alice's confession where it undercuts her brutal honesty and makes it seem like a dozen other 'Oscar momments' in a dozen other films. I wished Kubrick had followed his instincts in using the waltz tune and the Ligeti, which were excellant choices. I do however find the Pollack character to be a potent figure in the film, and I thought his scene with Harford at the end to not be needlessy explanatory, as some have suggested, but sinister and evocative of the dark heart of male sexuality, which I think is a major undercurrent in this film. In my view of Kubrick's body of work, I would rank them like this (for the momment anyway) favorite to least favorite: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Stangelove, Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut, Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket. -- 8/12/99

Greg Sherington (gregs@extrels.usyd.edu.au) wrote:
I strongly agree with the comment that Kubrick may have deleted certain voiceovers had he still been alive. I'm of the opinion that the voiceover where Bill Harford is in the morgue is unnecessary. But then again, could Kubrick be tricking us? Could he be using this technique in this particular scene to point us in the right direction or to confuse us further. Afterall, it's simply a reflection of Bill's thoughts and as we all know Kubrick has the 'eye of God'. I think EWS represents Kubrick's most successful attempt at spliting the audience's sympathies. We feel connected yet distanced to the plight Dr Bill and Alice Harford. I must confess that I was a little disappointed by the b/w images of Alice convorting with the Naval Officer. Mind you, I did think they were pretty hot, but for some reason they lacked power. However, Kubrick more often than not leaned towards a degree of realism. Think of the ridiculous fantasies and thoughts Alex in ACO had. I think Kubrick was trying to portray what was going through Bill's head in such a manner to make it confronting, but nowhere near as poweful as other moments in the film. One more note, I hail from Australia and EWS has broken box office records for an R-rated film (equivalent to an NC-17). Reviews have been excellent except for a rare few. In fact the overwhelming majority of critics have praised the film as a masterpiece and perhaps Kubrick's best. But two influential critics have panned it. One called it "a stupid old man's film" and the other denounced it as "hollow and naive". These comments emphasised Kubrick's thoughts at the time ACO came out where he said that critics see a film only once don't remember what they saw and write a review to a tight deadline. More often than not, critics editorialise and trumpet their opinions without even attempting to connect or analyse a film's themes, metaphors or even technical concerns. I find it even more sad that such negative reviewers can't devote a little more effort to try and see what Kubrick's last film may have been about. -- 13 August

Ivan Godsell
Like all his best films, it is deeply moral. This film is offering a moral substitute on monogamy in place of the hole left by the decline of religion. Of course, Stanley firmly believed that the 20th century has marked an increasing trend of religous moral decline. In its place he wished to fashion a new guiding light; something to make us stop and think, to slow the fuck down and take stock of ourselves. Here, in Eyes Wide Shut, he has done that brilliantly in the context of human relationships; a truly marvellous first for the so-called 'misanthropic' film-maker, and the perfect ending to his career. --

Todd Fuqua (Todd_Fuqua) wrote:
I suppose I can understand Kubrick's many critics (and being a Kubrick fan, I've read many of them) who state his later works were too formal, too plodding, to...perfect. "Eyes Wide Shut" is certainly no exception. You'd think Kubrick would have achieved something close to perfection after 15 months on the shoot. The only problem is the film world has moved on from this slow, methodical method of story telling. Let's face it, Kubrick is another old master who has fallen victim to the "MTV" style of editing. That does not mean I particularly like the MTV style, I'm just a realist who sees a majority of the people won't see this film for what it is, a painstakingly created work of art. It's my belief that Kubrick spent so much time on his films; shooting, editing, re-editing, re-shooting, and cutting or adding scenes even after the film's release; that the final product shows the only conceivable way that film could be made. Kubrick tinkered and his films. He literally exhausted every possible way to compose, shoot and edit scenes. With Kubrick, there is no such thing as a "Director's Cut," the films were cut exactly as Kubrick wanted them in the first place. There was no other logical way to cut them because he had already tried all the other ways. Did I like the film? Yes. But I'll bet I was the only one that even tried to like it. Kubrick's films don't make themselves easy to like, you've got to work at it. You've also got to realize he spent a lot of time on the visual aspect of the film. There's not a lot of expository dialogue. Can't understand it? Tough, draw your own conclusions. I do believe this film is a fitting final statement from the film director, but I am still saddened he was not able to finish "A.I.", which was to be his attempt at digital filmmaking. Who knows what his relentlessly inquisitive mind, paired with an equally relentless passion for experimentation, could have come up with in the digital world? The mind shudders at the thought. -- 8-16-99

SunRaiser (as if) wrote:
First of all, I must state that I am a Kubrick fan. I love his work. However, I did not like Eyes Wide Shut at all. The plot was empty. And the funny thing is, everyone who liked it says to me that I didn't understand it. And I did. I got all the metaphores, and I do understand the movie to its fullest. THe movie goes nowhere!! --

Gavin Greenoak (g.greenoak@agec.usyd.edu.au) wrote:
This film is a masterpiece of art. Kubrick’s apotheosis. The real attains the symbolic by a mastery of means and a sure instinct for the essence of his tale. Dream and waking reality are interwoven. Sex, the unconscious, and the dark angels of black passions swoop down upon a meaningless Christmas sentimentality. The story is bigger than Kubrick. He does not interpret it. He tells it. The story tells of passion’s blade turned in the guts of the possessive. Both Alice and Bill are complacently assured at the beginning of the story. The balance of power is tipped towards the male. The party precipitates an eruption of passionate and irrational forces. Under the influence of wine and music, a pagan dissolution of boundaries, a promiscuity, is unleashed. The female below the woman is touched into life. She asserts her freedom, authority, and power. Against the male, but for no reason. She provokes jealousy and the male finds himself in a "dark wood". He is like the archetypal hero the hubris of whom is representative and ordinary. The voluptuous image of his wife being willingly ravished transforms "his wife" into the Other woman, who has power over him. He is knocked off his perch by the rude forces of aggressive instinct which identify him as effeminate, non-male, as "faggot". Bill descends into the underworld, where the mask is the symbol of the type, the archetype. Not ideas, but beings. The paradox of the revealing mask following the double negative of the mask masking the mask of personality, - of the consciously controlled, social and personal being. With this descent comes the invasion of the dream dimension. The female does not (perhaps cannot) descend. She is the least conscious, and most effective. She is the dream incarnate, oracular, and absolute. By the end the story, the balance of power is entirely her way. Bill turns to her instinctively and submissively for the answer as to "what shall we do?" She says that "one night is not the whole truth." He says "that a dream is not only a dream." "But we are awake!" She replies. She balks at his insistence of the word "forever". Which means for him, an eternal restoration, of how it was, and a promise that the dream will never invade again. Alice holds him off from this illusion. She wants a living man, tensely alert. Bill was not really awakened by his descent into the underworld, he was merely awakened to the possibility of awakening. And he is marked for life. Perhaps fatally, for his relationship with Alice. But Bill’s confession is pure. It has no further intention beyond its unburdening, cleansing, and healing. What has he betrayed? Has he betrayed anything more consciously, than she has unconsciously? Interestingly, Kubrick casts the wealthy Jewish Ziegler as the master of his ceremonies. Ziegler is carefully all seeing, and all knowing, master of both under and overworlds. Ziegler keeps a paternal eye over Bill who is not an initiate to things which would make him "sleep differently at night". Ziegler is the dark Jehovah in a world of infernal light. An absolute triumph of the film is the interweaving of the dream world with the awake world, the world as culturally and socially presented, as the one with which we should alone identify; and the world as individually , intimately, and uniquely presented. In the former, the individual is a mere things amongst other things within a meaning which is only privately accessible. It is the knowledge, concept, and control over things which relieves it of its threat. This is the threat of the object as object only, threatening to negate the subject, except as subject-to, the indifference of the object Whereas, in the latter dream dimension it is the subject which presents its ‘objectivity’ as beings, as the actual other beings with whom it dreams, and is being dreamed. Here it is meaning which has reality status, with which all things are charged, and cannot be conceptualised, possessed, but only lived. The reality and ultimate meaning of the dream is referred to, and confirmed by the dreamer, and only through the dreamer to the knower. This "dreamer" may only express (or confess) his knowledge through the conduit of a story telling, imaging, mind. It is the mind in action with its body, and not reflective and referred to the personal possessive world-as-idea. Mentation has nothing here to hold on to, nothing to grasp, no rest, no weapon. In a world where dream, myth and religion are active, there is also the immanence of personal purpose, and a collective meaning, with a unity, a life, at stake. Rituals of descent are integrated with a waking world unsevered from its dream source. In 1999, the descent can only be destructive. Destructive of the hardening rind which encloses social units of consumption within a radical unconsciousness of neutralised meaning. Sex will always hold the meaning of death, and the renewal of life. And for those who do not know the difference, it is mostly death. Alice and Bill could be anyone, they live in a state of "sin", of confirmed egotism, completely unknowingly. They are broken into, and dispossessed of who they were, when their inner state meets its outer counterpart, and point of waking dream intersection. Even the quality of film Kubrick uses, with a large grain, and slightly off colour, intensifies the transparency of the medium, and sharpens its emotional impact as dream image rather than, but as well as, photographic image. Just as in dream even the most ordinarily insignificant is charged with meaning, so Kubrick by subtle intensifications and stylisations of dialogue and action charges his images. Kubrick films the unfilmable and attains to art. Ambiguity has perhaps never been filmed so unambiguously. Every character delivers a sureness of accomplished form and approaches a definition of "the real" as seamless illusion. -- 19.08.99

Clement (nicolas@wistorm.com) wrote:
I am an "afficionado" of Stanley Kubrick since I first saw one of his movies (Full Metal Jacket), so don't think that this review is unpartial... My first impression was that I felt in an alredy known (and loved) style. The light and the angles are perfect (I noticed only one mistake, sorry Stanley, the Rolls Royce's wheel driven by the owner of the castle where the orgy happened is on the right side which means that it is an english Rolls Royce). The mesure of the light remained me "2001..." of course because it is mainly dark and in both case well-managed. I then thought that I've never a film of Stanley in that style of narration... Intrigated I rented 2 weeks ago "Barry Lyndon" which is also an adaptation of a novel and discovered the exact same organisation (for the way the story progresses and is explained)but modified to fit the theme of the Jealousy and Discovery and the suspense. I remembered also a french movie of the first half of the century -I hope that someone will tell me the name of it- where there is a scene where each personn of the house where the scene takes place is moving in different grounds of the image) becaus eof the scenes with a lot of different backgrounds interacting in a visual ballet (> the beginning during the bal, the orgy, the bar where ToM Cruise search for his friend). I noticed also more visual elements connected to the main theme (the christmas decorations which are present on every image when Tom Cruise is cheating his wife and that he turns off when he is going to tell her the truth... or the red carpet of the pool). I liked it but I did not fall in love with it (I flt in love with all his other movies but 2001 and clockwork). But all who says that it is a crapy movie must not see very often movies because it is still one of the best movie of the decade. If you don't think the same go see all the other movies playing now and then write me an e-mail about how much I changed your vision of cinematographic art... (nicolas@wistorm.com) -- 24th August 1999

dman (dave.harrington@mindspring.com) wrote:
First, let me applaud all of the excellent reviewers on this site. Second, let me first state that my comments are from someone who has seen it 3 times and would see it 3 more times if I didn't have a 2 year old at home that likes to see his daddy (and the feeling is mutual). Let me throw something out there and those that agree or disagree can email me to state your point or concerns. I don't think this movie is about sex, it is about sexuality. The good doctor is questioning his sexuality after (and before) his attractive wife discloses her emotions. Almost every scene involves, not sex, but his sexuality. I don't know if this movie is about jealousy, because I think he is too self-centered to be more concerned about someone else than his own deep emotions and shortcomings. Why did I see it 3 times? Because I have never experienced a film that insisted that I respect it. It, like its creator, deserves more respect than this amateur filmgoer could ever deliver. Congrats SK. Let us all hope that the DVD comes out soon (unedited, of course). If the studio doesn't release an uncut version of this, I will certainly boycott the studio w/o a second thought. I don't think we realize what is happening when a studio demands scenes to be cut.... -- aug. 25,1999

Ryan Laux (elaux@stny.lrun.com) wrote:
**** (OUT OF FOUR) Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubricks final compelling masterpiece. The film is brilliant. Kubrick was brilliant. I don't feel that there has been or will be a better film this year. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman do terrific performances, and Kubrick deserves an OSCAR nomination for direction. It is terrible that the film bombed at the box office, even though it opened with a 22 million dollar gross. This is a wonderful film. If you didn't like it, I bet that you do not understand kubricks vision, his art, his masterwork. The film is a brilliant, compelling masterpiece. I loved it. - RJL -- August 27th, 1999

Tyson Stewart (rosiesam@sympatico.ca) wrote:
Only a few films that I can think of have the power to make me fall into the story and not blink an eye for the entire film because of its brilliant storytelling. EYES WIDE SHUT is the best story put on film. It's unique way of storytelling with plenty of disolves and cuts at the key moments in the scenes is masterfully done. Tom and Nic are excellent as Bill and Alice Harford. They play there characters brilliantly. All the supporting actors in the film are as great. But, this is Tom Cruise's odyssey of sexual adventure and exploration. This is the best film of the year and along with CASABLANCA, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, VERTIGO, and TOUCH OF EVIL, EYES WIDE SHUT is one of the best films ever made. In my eyes it's already a vintage classic. -- August 28

alexander Gorlin (gorlin@interport.net) wrote:
brilliant, to be read on many levels, not only a fragment of a contimuing commentary on contemporary life in the "civilized" world but a jungian/freudian exploration of the duality of dream/real world, illusion and reality, seeing and being, the mask vs depth, life as theater, many of the themes explored in the shing continued here, also Barry Lyndon, more to come -- august 28 1999

Kiyoshi Ogura (ogura@emb.asahi-np.co.jp) wrote:
iMac -- 29/08/1999

Kiyoshi Ogura (ogura@emb.asahi-np.co.jp) wrote:
iMac -- 29/08/1999

Michael Stewart
-- August 31, 1999

Julio Quiñones (julioquinones9@hotmail.com) wrote:
Film criticism is about analytical creativity and you can exercise that to a level of public prominence without any special natural gift for transcendental aesthetic appreciation. This accounts for why so many prominent film critics keep failing when judging a Stanley Kubrick film. They're just not gifted enough to accede the plateau of aesthetic gratification that gives a "less is more" virtue to those film-wise components that they find inadequate and therefore condemn. In other words, they just can't see the beauty. -- 8/31/99

OK, now I've seen it three times, and I think it's absolutely brilliant. I think it's perhaps Kubrick's most irreducible film - there's no other way these things could have been expressed.
So many layers, so many dreams, so many dreamers...in a New York that doesn't exist....and I now think that Alice's last word in the film is an indication that perhaps Bill is still stuck in his dream. Magnificent. -- 9/1/99

Tomoo Shigeno (tomoo.shigeno@sonymusic.co.jp) wrote:
Hallow!!! -- Sep/2/1999

Miquel Castillo (mcbllar@mx3.redestb.es) wrote:
EWS on Kubrick's vision is like a painting, remember that he sent to Frederic Raphael a book about the paintings of Van Gogh, and everywhere on the Harford's apartment we could see paintings from Kubrick's wife and step daughter. Besides, a painting is something that the artist do and the audience should make its own interpretations based on their feelings and experiences. As many paintings there are strokes of other artists, here Fellini -Domino, the Masked Ball-, Allen -Domino again-, Antonioni -the couple's isolation-, Bergman -the couple's isolation plus the oral violence-. And in other way Just Jaeckin, from Emmanuelle fame, in the black and white bourgeois aseptic fantasies of clean sex. Also, and nothing to do with paintings, I want to remark the presence of the circles on the whole movie, even the revolving glass doors on the hospital and on the last sequence the toy's box called The Magic Circle. Kubrick's sense of humor. Besides the explicit jokes as Domino's, newspaper's, Rainbow's, Strangers in the night stuff, etc., I think is a kind of humoresque to pretend to do a whole sequence to explain everything -the one between Ziegler and Bill- when in fact this sequence don't explain anything at all. Master's touch I feel. Finally, who's that bearded guy with a married ring on his left hand who looks at the camera on the Café Sonata? -- September 2

Mark (mark@ment.com) wrote:
Wonderful movie... Kubrick mixed well reality w/ dreams giving us a surrealistic felling throught the whole movie -- 9/3/99

Tyson S.
When I read a review by a critic who is being paid for what he is doing and calls EWS a bad film I am very disapointed! They comment on all the wrong things. Owen from Entertainment Weekly was saying that Kubrick forgot to have background actors in one of the scenes and that the film wore a mask. This are the kind of comments that people write when they go see a film with the intention to not like it. Rogert E. didn't like the ending scene in EWS. He didn't like how everything was clear up. Did he even see the film??!! Almost nothing is cleared up at the end of it. The mystery of the murders is still there. Bill and Alice do come together at the end, yes, they are awake now, yes, and I loved that scene and can't think of any other possible way of ending the tale and Bill's odyssey. Would he of been happier if Bill didn't forget the mask and that he never told Alice anything, and all that tension and all the secrets and desire would of have still bewen there?????????? Anyway, enough about the "critiques". EWS is haunting masterpiece that demands multiple viewing like no other film made. It's going to look even greater on DVD, I can't wait! Eyes Wide Shut * * * * / * * * * --

Saulo Campos Rocha (scrocha@infonet.com.br) wrote:
Assiti ao filme ontém à noite e achei fantástico. Apesar do alarde criado quanto as figuras digitalizadas, a verdade é que elas são praticamente inperceptíveis. Toda edição das imagens é precisa e acho improvável que alguém tenha cortado ou adicionado novos quadros. Esse é realmente um ótimo, se não o melhor(preciso dar outra assistida), herança deixada por Kubrick para os seus "filhos". -- 04/09/99

Wagner José Borges (wvix@interlink.com.br) wrote:

Martim Vasques (mp@correionet.com.br) wrote:
"Eyes Wide Shut" is not a film about sex or jealously or betrayal. It's a film about the fear of dying. It's one of the most haunting films i ever seen. And - God! - the lightning, the editing, the music - it was a pure exercise of a master. And Tom Cruise - yes, the same man who made "Top Gun" and "Risky Business" - is extraordinary; he reallly achieves an emotional power when he cries and says he'll tell every thing to Nicole Kidman. That's why Kubrick spent four years making this film: to make these actors live their roles. And there's also another reason: when the movie ends, the feeling is inevitable: Kubrick knew that was his testament. A master piece, no doubt about it. -- 7/9/99

greg (gregory7999@earthlink.net) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut is not only a film about sex,but about women .And the least I can say,is that Kubrick has a complex idea of women!Tom Cruise is sexually assaulted by two models,hiding stupidity behind nice bodies. Nicole Kidman is a devil, manipulating(on purpose?) her husband with her enounced sexual thoughts;the dead man's daughter jumps on the young doctor in the bedroom where her father's body rests:the pretty hooker is a flower with venom(we could pity her for her illness if Kubrick choosed to make her appear a second time;but of course he didn't!) Finally,the only positive woman in the film,who tries to help Cruise...dies.She can not stay alive after having been good to him. Stanley Kubrick never produced important female characters in his films,but in Lolita(!)Was he scared by women?Very possible... -- 9/7/99

Andrew Neale (acn@afts.com.au) wrote:
"I know I would like to make a film that gave a feeling of the times - a contemporary story that finally gave a feeling of the times, psychologically, sexually, politically, personally. I would like to make that more than anything else. And it's probably going to be the hardest film to make." (Stanley Kubrick, "Notes on Film", The Observer Weekend Review, 4 December 1960) Forty years ago, as Kubrick's career entered its most significant phase, he jotted down a series of thoughts on film. Forty years on, he has finished his journey. Everything said about Eyes Wide Shut, possibly more so than any of his other works, epitomises his belief in, and unfailing adherence to, these guiding principles. And more so than any other director, Kubrick understood exactly how the film industry could be used to meet his needs. He bought the time do do what he wanted, and to it as well as he possibly could. His body of work in film has the same stature in its own medium as does the work of Picasso or Joyce or Beethoven in theirs. And perhaps Eyes Wide Shut is the Mona Lisa of the film world. Enigmatic, timeless, mysterious, a journey into psychological depths. Perhaps the major difference is that Mona Lisa is watching us, whereas in Eyes Wide Shut we have Kubrick's camera doing the watching for us. Enigmatic, timeless, mysterious, a journey into psychological depths. These same words apply of course to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick's masterpiece, and possibly one of the most significant artifacts of twentieth century film. But can one compare the films, does it make sense to do so? Well, in many ways yes, because there are so many echoes of the earlier film in the later one. One is a cosmological adventure, a journey into the infinite, a critical questioning of human intelligence, with the wonderful optimism and promise of the Star Child. The other is a psychological adventure, a journey into the inner consciousness, a critical questioning of dreams and reality, but this time ending with a bleak expression of the fundamental evolutionary need, the need to fuck. Both films in their way are expressions of the future, but we have gone from a glowing promise to a bleak but very human despair. Opening scene, and the black dress falls. Blink and you almost miss it. Blink as you hurtle through the star gate. Dave Bowman thirty years ago yet nearly tomorrow, and Bill and Alice Harford today. Starting out on a journey into the unknown. Narcissistic Bill Harford (Dr Bill, as he becomes affectionately known later), gazing at himself in the mirror, thinks he knows his wife so well he doesn't even need to look at her to know she is beautiful. But he is so remote from his family that he doesn't know the baby-sitter's name. Alice is the knowing one: she knows exactly where Bill's wallet is, and the film will reveal that she certainly knows where Bill's head is as well. Bill gets drawn into a descent into his inner being, but has no control over events or his destiny. He is forever being driven from scene to scene by the actions of others. Ziegler's aid summons him away from the two models at the party, Marion calls him away from Alice's revelation, Alice calls him away from Domino, Nick Nightingale receives the password (by telephone) and the call ushers Bill into the maelstrom of the masked ball. At the masked ball, "Napoleon" calls the girl away from him and takes her up the stairs, the girl later returns and calls him away from the second girl, he is then summonsed by the masked footman and is made to present himself to the master of the ball. And later, Bill is frustrated by the same mediums of communication - Marion's fiance Carl answers the phone, thereby halting Bill's only attempt to determine his own destiny. Other than this single phone call, which doesn't even get to words, Bill's actions are always determined by others. He receives the letter advising him not to investigate the events at the house any further, he reads the paper and discovers Mandy Curran's overdose. Ziegler's aid summons him by phone away from the morgue and into the clutches of Ziegler. Interestingly, it is also Ziegler's aid who calls Nick Nightingale away from Bill at the Christmas party at the beginning of the film - perhaps Ziegler really is the spider at the centre of the web, weaving the many strands around Bill, trapping him helplessly like a fly. Like Alice, who is perhaps watching Bill in her dreams, Ziegler is also watching Bill, and knows everything he has been doing. And Alice leaves the most significant message of the film - the mask on his pillow. By this act, Alice shows that she has reached a long way into Bill's head, and there are many things that she has "known", even before he speaks. Her dream has echoed Bill's nightmare journey. And by the end of the film, perhaps it is the women who have shown themselves to have had the most control. Alice laughs. When she falls to the ground laughing, just before her confession, there are many knowing laughs from the women in the audience. She knows, as the women in the audience certainly know, that Bill's view of female sexuality is really a joke. Million years of evolution so that men can put their sperm into as many women as they can, and the women stay at home and mind the children? The women in the film are almost predatory in their sexuality. Bill is approached from all sides by the classic Kubrick high-breasted temptresses (the same as the girl who tantalises Alex in A Clockwork Orange, and the woman in room 237 who tempts Jack Torrance). They are all from the Helmut Newton school of naked women in heels - interestingly, Kubrick shoots from the same waist height viewpoint that Newton uses so much - this has the effect of making us look up at the women. (As an aside, one of the pre-release rumours was that Kubrick wanted Helmut Newton to shoot a series of erotic still photographs to loosen the actors up a bit). The women are in command, they are controlling what goes on. Gayle and Nuala, the models, take Bill away down the corridor "to the end of the rainbow". Poor Bill has no idea what is going on, despite his claim that, "that is the kind of hero I am, sometimes". The blonde girl being examined by Bill in his doctor's surgery - now how many girls go to the doctors wearing high cut skimpy underwear? Unless of course she is interested in getting "her little titties squeezed" by Bill, which is Alice's point completely. Poor, sad, Marion, beside herself with grief, throws herself at Bill. Bill is approached by Domino, who is splendidly confident, "how about you just leave it up to me?". Bill is approached by the two women at the orgy, one of whom is the sacrificial girl (this isn't Mandy Curran by the way - check the credits and the screenplay - different actresses, and different names in the script). Bill expresses righteous indignation that Milich has "come to another arrangement" over his daughter, but is clearly taken by her "impish grin". But again, it is the girl who is taking the lead. Bill goes back to see Domino - when she isn't there, he has no shame and moves on Sally, assuming that Sally, like her room-mate Domino, is a hooker. But she might not be. I have seen the film three times now, and each time this scene has more erotic frisson than Bill caressing Alice at home. Sally's little sighs, and drawing in of breath, is just exquistite, and oh so real. Sally is torn between continuing and telling Bill the sad news about Domino. These women are honest about their sexuality. At the Harfords, on the other hand, Alice is remote from Bill, and interested only in herself and her dreams. The major publicity shot for the film is the final image of the naked Bill and Alice zoom, where Alice is looking fixedly away from Bill. And it is this shot where Bill and Alice and Tom and Nicole become blurred and confused in the viewer's eye. Are we seeing the actors, or the characters, or mirror images of the actors and their characters? And of course we know there is Kubrick, watching with his camera. "I think that the best plot is no apparent plot. I like a slow start, the start that gets under the audience's skin and involves them so that they can appreciate grace notes and soft tones and don't have to be pounded over the head with plot points and suspense hooks." (Stanley Kubrick, "Notes on Film", The Observer Weekend Review, 4 December 1960) This comment is certainly true about Eyes Wide Shut.. A recurring comment about the film is the slow pace. Kubrick is forcing us to hear to pay attention to real time - his scenes are long and slowly played out. In so doing he is forcing us to stop and listen to words being spoken, as well as the images being seen. This is a significant difference between Eyes Wide Shut and 2001 - the latter film also establishes a sense of real time, and forces us to concentrate on the visual narrative, but words are basically not important. Nobody says anything of much real value in 2001, certainly the plot doesn't rely on verbal prompts to move it along. In Eyes Wide Shut, many of the words are nearly as important as the image, but it is the image that we remember most. Who will forget the intense close up of Alice as she remembers her fantasy of the naval officer? Who will forget the ravishing close-up of Domino as she leans forward to kiss Bill? Who will forget the impish smile of Milich's daughter as she knowingly looks up at Bill? Who will forget the silent visual caress of Alice as she does up her bra? And who will forget the constant weave and flow of the masked ball? The film flows along like a vast river, the major elements of the narrative slowly establishing themselves. Kubrick is right, there is no real plot in Eyes Wide Shut, rather, it is a series of events, each fully self-contained, and each mysteriously shifting into the next. Like a dream. "Only by using stars and getting the film on the circuits can you buy the time needed to do it justice. In fact, the cost of a picture usually has little to do with how much the actors get paid. It has to do with the number of days you take to shoot it, and you can't make a film as well as it can be made without having a sufficient length of time to make it." (Stanley Kubrick, "Notes on Film", The Observer Weekend Review, 4 December 1960) A common thread throughout the reviews on this site is a discontent and an uncertainty with Kidman's portrayal of Alice - many of the writers seem to prefer Cruise, and see him as the better actor of the two. But Kidman's portrayal of Alice's seductive, tipsy flirtation with Szavost is wonderful, she beautifully captures the wonder that a new man or a new woman can bring, as she plays the game. Alice's stoned derision of Bill's views on women, her revelation of the naval officer, her recall of her own orgy dream, her quiet control at the end of the film where she forbids Bill to think of forever, all of these show the superior control of Kidman. Cruise, or is it Bill (I don't know whether it is the character or the actor), wanders through this film in a daze, with little reaction, and little passion. Maybe this is the quality Kubrick was looking for in his leading man, but I tend to think that Kubrick's use of Cruise was his ultimate exploitation of the star system to get what he wanted - time to make his film exactly as he wanted to make it, by using box office stars guaranteed to secure the studio's money. "I don't think that writers or painters or film makers function because they have something they particularly want to say. They have something they want to feel. And they like the art form: they like words, or the smell of paint, or celluloid and photographic images and working with actors. I don't think that any genuine artist has ever been oriented by some didactic point of view, even if he thought he was." (Stanley Kubrick, "Notes on Film", The Observer Weekend Review, 4 December 1960) Interesting that many of the reviews concentrate on the "film as artifact" - many comments rely on prior knowledge of Kubrick's work. And of course, that shorthand works - just say it's a classic Kubrick tracking shot, and fellow fans know what you mean. But consider the echoes of past films. Ballroom scenes in "Paths of Glory", the Blue Danube of the circling space stations, the ballrooms in the Overlook, the ballrooms in "Barry Lyndon", the deserted theatre where Alex and the droogs fight Billyboy.. The taxi driving through the trees to the house - just like the Durango 5000 going out to "Home". Pool tables - Bill meets the master manipulator Ziegler who circles the table, just as Mr Alexander sits at the pool table and bombards Alex with music - similar also to the ping-pong table where Clare Quilty challenges Humbert Humbert to a game in “Lolita”. And of course the huge round room with streams of light echoes the war room In “Dr Strangelove”. "Gentlemen, you can't fight here, this is the war room!" "Bill, you can't have sex here, it's the orgy room". Marion's father is just like the dying Dave Bowman - similar kind of bedhead. You almost expect to see the black monolith. And what about the old man who hands Bill the letter at the gate - same kind of shuffle as the old Dave Bowman in the dressing gown - looked like him too. The painted advertisement on the wall "Bowman Manning" Lots of echoes of 2001 - Mrs Kaminsky a patient at the clinic - I wonder if she is getting a routine check-up while her husband Kaminsky is training to be put on board the Discovery, already in deep sleep, perhaps? The revolving door, just like the revolving space stations and passages in the moon shuttles. I have seen the film in Australia, without the absurd digital “cardboard cut outs” that have rightly attracted a lot of attention. I frankly can’t imagine what it would have been like screened in the USA, with the digital masks. Something else – one of the earlier reviews on this page mentioned a voice-over narrative. Was there one? Because there certainly wasn’t in the version I saw. I’ve read a version of an early script, where there was extensive use of voice over, and thought, “I’m glad Kubrick didn’t use that device” – is the reviewer mixing up his film with the script, or is the international version different? Any comments from viewers in the USA on this one? I reckon Kubrick did the right thing by us in this film – like a lot of other people, I’m convinced the bearded patron in the Sonata café is Stanley, sitting in a cameo. The way he looks up as Bill walks in and sits down – as if he is thinking, “get it right Cruise, or you’re gonna do it again, and again, and again, until you do.” And here's something to think about: HAL was first set to work in January 1992, which makes him 7 in 1999. Now the Harford's daughter Helena is also about 7. HAL, Helena. And the most famous Alice of all, the one who falls down the rabbit hole and climbs behind the mirror, she also is just 7. That young Alice is the master of all dream worlds, and maybe, just maybe, Eyes Wide Shut is all Alice's dream. "Still she haunts me, phantomwise, Alice moving under skies Never seen by waking eyes. In a wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream - Lingering in the golden gleam - Life, what is it but a dream?" (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, epitaph.) -- 9 Sept 99

Ross Hulford (roscoe@rhulford.freeserve.co.uk) wrote:
This is not a personal review but a review in Scotland's national newspaper THE SCOTSMAN on the eve of EWS general release un the UK Film of the Week Eyes Wide Shut **** by Trevor Johnston All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. These lines, repeated ad infinitum , you will probably recall from The Shining , where they were typed out on pages and pages of manuscript paper, an expression of Jack Nicholson’s deepening psychosis. In Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Stephen King shocker, the protagonist found himself locked in a snowbound hotel with a novel which steadfastly refused to write itself, and a family driving him crazy. Eventually, Kubrick’s final sequence left him wandering in a frozen maze, a spectacular image of a man lost in the labyrinth of his own neuroses. Tom Cruise goes through something rather similar in Eyes Wide Shut , although here the maze in which he finds himself has a lot more to do with his sexuality. He too is concerned that all work and no play, his successful medical career and his marriage to Nicole Kidman in other words, is making him a bit of a dull boy as well. In the very opening scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s final film, we witness this comfortably off New York couple at home, sharing a bathroom together, intimate without even noticing it any more. Audience eyebrows are raised as la Kidman takes a leak on screen but Cruise hardly bats an eyelid. Casting the world’s most famous celebrity couple certainly pays dividends in this instance. Soon though, we begin to have inklings that Cruise is fretting over how everyone else seems to be having a rather more wicked time of it than he is. At a glittering party hosted by a millionaire acquaintance (Sydney Pollack, a suave replacement for Harvey Keitel), he is called to an upstairs chamber where his host is zipping up his flies and in a panic about the drugged prostitute prone on the couch. Doctor Cruise administers reassurance all round, but it is a disconcerting instance of how the other half loves, and its effect is compounded by the revelations which come rolling out the next evening in the couple’s apartment. Inhibitions loosened by a toke on some of those funny herbal cigarettes, it is Kidman, in a scene as emotionally forthright as any she has ever delivered, who spills the beans on a Cape Cod vacation electrified by her instinctive lust for a naval officer for whom she would have given up everything if he had only made a move. Images of his wife in flagrante with a man in uniform continue to haunt Cruise’s imagination as he is called out to visit the grieving daughter of a patient who has just expired. When she comes on to him in her moment of need, it fans the embers of Cruise’s own thoughts of vengeful infidelity. What follows is a series of nocturnal misadventures as the would-be errant husband gets himself into a series of amorous near-misses with an attractive prostitute, the under-age daughter of an eastern European costumier, and the masked participants at a secret masked orgy which he learns about from a piano-playing old pal in town for a residency at a late-night jazz club. Evidently, the disguised revellers at a plush country house are determined to retain their anonymity at all costs, even if it means punishing the girl who speaks up to protect Cruise when the interloper’s identity is discovered. The next day he reads a murder report in the paper and wonders if he is indirectly responsible, thus adding an even heavier burden of guilt to his own misgivings about his illicit desires. At a shade under two hours and 40 minutes, Kubrick’s film is arguably a tad overlong, although that is partly down to the stateliness with which the direction invests each of the individual incidents, and which makes Eyes Wide Shut such a compelling experience from moment to moment. At the same time, we are aware that we are watching an old man’s film which determinedly does its own thing and seems unrelated to any other movie you might have seen in the past two decades – except The Shining and Full Metal Jacket . Like those films, this one was shot mainly in London despite being set somewhat further afield, and its curiously deserted mock-up of the Manhattan streets seems just as artificial as the fake Vietnam visited upon us by its immediate predecessor. Strangely though, the result is an odd, hermetically sealed sort of feeling about events on screen which actually makes the material more fascinating, even allowing for the obvious disjunction between the turn-of-the-century Viennese source material (Kubrick and Frederic Raphael adapted Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler, very faithfully by all accounts) and the Nineties New York settings. American critics have already expressed incredulity at the central orgy sequence (its posed couplings ludicrously covered up in the US release print by digitally added bystanders at the behest of the American ratings board), and at first sight it is indeed a ridiculous affair, redolent of Denis Wheatley and limp British Seventies soft porn. If it does seem terribly tame and unimaginative, however, might that not be because it is viewed from the perspective of a rather tame and unimaginative man, the Tom Cruise character? Since the later stages of the action amount to suspense over what he did or didn’t see, perhaps we should read the whole movie as a set of images hanging somewhere between the hard fact of New York as a sexual, violent playground and the reined-in fantasies of a husband drawn yet frightened by the prospect of libidinous freedom. Does he feel guilty about seeing the world as a bustle of sexual opportunity for the very first time, or is it that his guilt is actually shaping his view of his surroundings in that way? Blimey, it’s epistemology as entertainment. Cruise’s performance offers little of the fireworks that we get from Kidman, but it works very well for the film in that it offers a transparency which gives the viewer plenty of space to ponder what it is that the movie is actually about. And ponder we do. As a Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut might initially disappoint those who hoped for another straight-up masterpiece like Dr Strangelove or 2001: A Space Odyssey , but the thing about all his work since Barry Lyndon in 1975 is that it has received an almost lukewarm reception at first, then grown in stature over the years and repeated viewings. The initial report on Eyes Wide Shut is that it is engrossing yet also rather flabby, penetrating but a bit naff at times. This assessment is tempered with the certainty that the film will surely look a whole lot better when we come back to it in five or ten years’ time. Wherever he is, Stanley will be closely monitoring its progress. General release from tomorrow. -- 09/09/99

george (georgemoura@hotmail.com.br) wrote:
-- 09/09/1999

Joe Edwards (joered99@hotmail.com) wrote:
My only major complaint about Eyes Wide Shut is that the running time is too long and the pace a little too slow. Aside from that...it has some great scenes, stirring score, and a magical reference that the movie really does feel like a dream. Tom Cruise is fine, Nicole is better. the scenes where they are together are magnificent. The film is a slow moving, art film about marriage and its principles. Not a real exciting subject, but it sticks with this subject no matter if it isn't a crowd pleaser. that's brave. I don't know if it really has the punch of his earlier films. But this is a very unique movie, from this century's great filmmaker. -- 9/13/99

Luc S. (box@online.be) wrote:
I'm not really a Kubrick-fan, but have seen some of his movies. This is a film totally in Kubrick style. It's not a masterpiece, but has some highlights. The reality of the relationship between Alice (Nicole Kidman) and Bill (Tom Cruise) is frightening. The rest of the film is a bit absurd, but that probably the Kubrick-way. Overall I kind of liked the film, but wouldn't say it's a must. Some parts were just boring and slow. It's a nice excuse to see some nice nudity! -- 13 September 1999

Michael Williamson (mike_man23@yahoo.com) wrote:
This movie was masterfully directed. Absolutely seamless. Beautiful and rugged, immaculate and dirty. Not to mention the yet again original storyline. A very full and vivid look at virtually all aspects of sexuality. Especially between a married couple. I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Kubrick, as I have been a long time fan of his brilliant work. If noone has started work on AI by the time I can get a hold of it I hope to complete it. Hey, I can wish, right? -- September, 1999

Juliet (fiction15@hotmail.com) wrote:
hmm, well, I went to see the movie alone. Maybe a good idea, as it gave me time to reflect afterwards. I did not know what to think of the movie, and came back to uni to do an assignment, totally shell shocked. I wasn't sure how to feel, whether it was a good movie, or whether it was brilliant. I have only seen one other Kubrick film, being A Clockwork Orange. Both bizzarem, but wonderfully acted. I liked Tom and Nicole working together, you got that real feel of what could have been. The masked ball scene, now that was brilliantly done, and the scene where he is asked to attend to his Taxi driver, the masks were all of shocking, mouth gaping, horrifying faces. this made the scene a little more frightening. I must say i was frightened for Bill a few times, but that is part of Kubrick's essence, to make you part of the film. Thank you Stanley Kubrick. -- 15th September 1999

Michael LaRosa (larosama@mail.clarkson.edu) wrote:
Craig writes one hell of a review. He's got guts. It's not easy to delve into the depths of kubrick, especially with a film like this. But he cares about what he writes. And he really cares about Kubrick's work. He appreciates the wit, the humor, the suffering, the tradgedy, and (what I love most in movies, especially One Flew Over....) the Tragicomedy. This is what makes his essay an important work. -- 9/15/99

tom Robbins (trobbins@CSCC.edu) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut weaves a dramatic story about a wife and husband caught up in the blur between reality and fantasy. Suppressed sexual desires are brought to the surface as the two struggle with each other and with their own subconscious levels of desire. The struggle send the husband into adventures which are perhaps real, perhaps imagined, or both. The film builds the point that dreams are often indistinguishable from reality, sometimes become reality, and are at least an expression of a person’s real desires. The film is also consciously symbolic of the (Judeo-Christian) story of temptation by the devil, the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, and the (Christian) subsequent redemption of man, who then remains forever suspended in uncertainty because of his transgressions. The film version is well conceived and well directed. Excellent cinematography, and sound contributes greatly to the success of the film, the acting has been raised to higher level because of the directing. Details of the film are carefully attended to throughout. The story was first written and published in Vienna, Austria, the same city and time period in which Sigmund Freud# was then working and in which he had published his major work on the interpretation of dreams. His Die Traudeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams), was published in 1899, and would still have been a poignantly current topic in Vienna at the time this story was first published as Traumnovelle (Dream Story) in 1926. The director, producer, and screenwriter, Stanley Kubrick, has delivered to the screen an updated version of the story for an audience which is aware of Freud, but in all probability not as familiar with his work as was the Viennese audience. The title of the film, however, Eyes Wide Shut, does seem to refer to the mergence of dreams and reality (eyes wide open = reality, eyes shut = dreams), and the ambiguous blend of the two. Kubrick has kept the screenplay very close to the original story. Yet, with only a few relatively minor changes, he brought it up to date, transformed it to New York City, an ocean and half a continent away from the original, and emphasized the “Garden of Eden” portion of the story to a greater degree than the Schnitzler’s. The film has much to do about sex and its effects on relationships, and displays much female nudity, yet remains a singularly unprovocative film.# In Traumnovelle, the two main characters, Fridolin and Albertine, are a young, well-to-do couple of their time (presumably 1926), a Physician and his wife. Albertine had accepted his proposal of marriage when she was sixteen, having suppressed the sexual desires of her girlhood before they were married, and subsequently during their marriage. They’ve been married for some eight years, have a daughter, and are at a point in their marriage at which they seem to need more stimulation and excitement. Albertine feels too taken for granted, and is resentful that she, as a woman, has had less freedom than he. In Kubrick’s screen version, the two main characters are very similar to Schnitzler’s. They seem to take each other for granted. At least, he takes her for granted. He is also a Doctor. She has given up her career, and is now a stay-at-home mother spending her days with their young daughter. In both versions, they are a well off young couple living in a veritable “Garden of Eden”, and the “forbidden fruit” is extra-marital sex, either real or fantasized. The dream story and the symbolic religious story merge then, one overlaid upon the other. Schnitzler set out to explore the implications of Freud’s theories. The two characters go about their business during the day, but banter and cajole and play a kind of duel in their relationship in the evenings. What begins as a mild banter on the night after a masked ball, leads to exaggerated claims and more serious words: “...this light banter about the trivial adventures of the previous night led to more serious discussion of those hidden, scarcely admitted desires which are apt to raise dark and perilous storms even in the purest, most transparent soul; and they talked about those secret regions....which the irrational winds of fate might one day drive them, if only in their dreams. For however much they might belong to one another heart and soul, they knew last night was not the first time they had been stirred by a whiff of freedom, danger and adventure; and with self tormenting anxiety and sordid curiosity each sought to coax admissions from the other...any experience...which might perhaps release them from a tension and mistrust that were slowly starting to become intolerable.... Albertine was the first to find the courage to make a frank confession;...” Kubrick’s version pick’s up the action earlier, and takes the viewer to the party (not a masked ball, as in Schnitzler’s story). The party is being given by a wealthy and influential patron, who may represent the devil himself. It is as though the protagonists have wandered into a corner of the Garden inhabited by the Devil. The character’s name is Victor, and the “victor” in the Garden of Eden was the Devil. Both Bill and Alice, are tempted toward a sexual experience with others, although neither succumbs to the temptation. While at the party, Bill, as a doctor, attends a mysterious woman who will later be encountered at a masked “ball”. This early meeting does not exist in the original story, but smooths out one of the more improbable details of the original. Albertine, as a woman in the early part of the century, is very confined by society, yet her dreams and her fantasies seem remarkably free spirited sexually, at least as she presents them to her husband. In anger, she confronts her husband with a fantasy about a young man on the coast of Denmark the previous summer, as though to punish him in order to vent her anger. Alice, in Eyes Wide Shut, does the same to Bill. In effect, by telling her husband of the fantasy, the woman succumbs to the Devil’s temptations and takes the forbidden fruit, even if only symbolically, in fantasy form. # Fridolin (and Bill, in the film version) , on the other hand, had farther reaching sexual experiences prior to marriage, and seems to have tamer fantasies, but a strong sense of conscience - and a strong sense of faithfulness toward his wife. He is hurt and severely bothered by his wife’s fantasy, however, and resolves to strike back at his wife (or simply to console himself?) by attempting to have extra-marital sex himself. He has equated her fantasy, her dream, with reality. He is unsuccessful in all his attempts toward such a sexual encounter, usually prevented by his own sense of moral decency and fidelity toward his wife. Yet, there is implied, a sense of guilt for even having attempted, or fantasized, the encounters. He is also aware that, ironically, not having followed through with the encounters physically, has saved him from a potentially deeper fate (e.g. sexually transmitted disease.) Kubrick’s version of the story is set against a background of Christmas season, with gifts and decorated trees always present, further emphasizing the religious aspect of the fall of man into the state of sin. The ultimate adventure for the husband is a strange masked ball that he learns of (when the “Nightingale” sings) and infiltrates, following Nightingale’s hearse (in the novella)into a “deep abyss”, where he encounters a circle of devilish worshipers who begin a sex orgy. He has masqueraded as one of them, is warned by the mysterious woman, found out, threatened, and is “redeemed” of his sin by the mysterious woman, who then is responsible for his release. She is found dying (and dies) the next day. In the film, it turns out to be the woman who Bill took care of at early party of the film. In Schnitzler’s version, the woman is a mysterious one who he’d had no other apparent contact with. In Kubrick’s film, the scene is far more graphic in depicting a devil worship ceremony -and sexual orgy- than in the novella version. The initial ceremony of the ball takes place in a circular formation, all persons masked and cloaked, with the central figure cloaked in red, as one might imagine the devil, swinging burning incense in religious ritual fashion. The scene takes place in a private mansion, in a space that is designed like a traditional medieval church nave, with apse and mezzanine. No Christian symbols are used, and the female attendees drop their robes to reveal their nudity, and an orgy begins. In the final scene at the “ball”, Bill’s “redeemer” appears dramatically at the mezzanine level, high above the crowd. The film version takes advantage of modern day cell phones to make the logistics of the scenes much easier than Schnitzler’s version was able to be. Personal encounters in the film version, especially between Bill and some of the women with whom he entertains the idea of sexual relations, capture an awkwardness among the actors that is uncannily realistic. Speech is halting, like real people trying to come up with the right thing to say. Close up photography reinforces the awkwardness by letting the viewers see the hesitancy and the tension. They are very grainy, producing a harshness which is unusual in a modern movie. Lighting effects are carefully arranged to send subtle messages to the viewer. In a scene in which Bill is at the apartment of Domino, a young prostitute, and is called on his cell phone by his wife, the audience sees him bathed in a warm, ruddy glow of Christmas lights and neon, while his wife, Alice is seen during the conversation in a cool, blue-silver pall of light. in the next moment, bill turns down Domino’s hospitality, unable to follow through. Marie Richardson, who’s role was “Marion” in the film (Marianne in the book), was extremely convincing in a short but remarkable performance as a distraught, nervous, awkward, desperate would-be lover. One felt nervous just viewing the action, because all details, the lighting, “stage” blocking, jerky movements, “awkward” deliveries, background sound (and the lack of it in the right places), all focused on the same end. Everything reinforced the scene. The sound track of the film too,especially during tense moments, was very effective, sometimes consisting of nothing more than slowly hammered out single piano notes, struck with a stacatto-like rhythm that seemed to pound out tension. Returning to his wife (in both versions) after the harrowing experience of the masked ball, she tells him of an extension of her dream, a continuation of her sexual fantasy with the young man. Part of her dream has a remarkably striking resemblance to a scene at the masked ball, and it adds further pain to her husband. . She relates that, at the beginning of her dream, they are naked and ashamed (again, the Garden of Eden), and that He, the husband, goes off to find them some clothes to wear. His absence makes her pleased in both versions, and she resumes a sexual relationship with the fantasized young man. The film version of the dream has Alice continuing to have sexual relations with many others (“I was fucking other men, so many...” , and “...everyone was fucking...”,), recalling the scene he observed in his own masked ball nightmare. In the novella version of the dream, Albertine continues to observe her husband from far away, sees the anger and hostility of others at him, and is pleased about it. She observes a would-be savior, a woman, rise up and offer to save him, if he would only become her lover. Fridolin refuses out of faithfulness to his wife, and is singled out for torture and death (on a cross). He seems to escape the sentence, but she taunts him and offers no sympathy for his plight. This is a twist on the theme of redemption at the Devilish masked ball. It also tends to emphasize the woman’s guilt and the man’s comparative innocence in the matter of the sin. Interestingly, the password with which to gain entrance to the masked ball, differs between the film and the novella. In the film, it is “Fidelio”, the title role of an opera by Beethoven, which itself refers to fidelity (to his wife? ...to his god?) yet also to deception.# In the novella, the password is “Denmark”, which connects the husband’s experience to his wife’s fantasy about the Danish officer. In the end, after several more thwarted attempts by the husband to have a sexual experience, he confesses all his adventures to his wife, after arriving home and finding the mask he wore to the Devil’s ball, mysteriously on the pillow beside his wife. In each version, the husband asks the wife what they should do. Alice: Maybe, I think, we should be grateful... grateful that we’ve managed to survive through all of our adventures, whether they were real or only a dream. (Albertine: “I think we should be grateful to fate that we have safely emerged from these adventures - both from the real ones and from those we dreamed about.”) Bill: Are you...are you sure of that? (Fridolin: Are you quite sure of that? ) Alice again: Am...am I sure? Ummm...only...as sure as I am that the reality of one night, let alone that of a whole lifetime, can ever be the whole truth. (Albertine: As sure as I am of my sense that neither the reality of a single night, nor even of a person’s entire life can be equated with the full truth about his innermost being.) Bill: And no dream is ever just a dream. (Fridolin: And no dream is altogether a dream.”) In Schnitzler’s version, husband and wife lie together: “...and with the usual noises from the street, a triumphant sunbeam coming in between the curtains, and a child’s gay laughter from the adjacent room, another day began.” They are together and “fully awake” now, on a positive note, with the promise that they will remain together, that life goes on, and the sun is shining with all the symbolic promise that a sunbeam has in such a story. Yet, in both versions, they are aware that nothing is forever, and they cannot say that they will be awake forever. This is one last allusion, in both versions to the concept that man would no longer live forever as a penalty for having tasted the forbidden fruit -- 9-15

James Martin Charlton (jamesmartincharlton@hotmail.com) wrote:
I venerate Kubrick as a man in possession of genius, as a great artist and as a Shaman in control of a spiritual encounter which will have profound significance in the life of one who comes before it in the right spirit. There has been some sniping about Eyes Wide Shut but that is because people are not approaching it for what it is: a dream, and a personal dream at that. It has no “meaning” apart from its collision with the consciousness of the viewer. This is true of all real art. There’s this couple and they are perfect, rich and gorgeous. They have a wonderful daughter and seem comfortable together. But maybe there is a tinge of complacency, a touch of negative innocence. The innocence of unknowing. So they go to a party and she gets hit on & so does he & he also in involved in a seedy and undignified incident. A few hours later, the wife tells the husband something which devastates him. She once saw a man who she wanted to fuck her so much that she was willing to jeopardise their marriage and their child for an hour’s sex. This send the husband mad and he goes into the night for a series of unsatisfactory, sinister and unwholesome encounters, which eventually put his life, marriage and social position at risk. In the end he tells his wife all and she says “well, forget it and be satisfied with what you’ve got”. His eyes have been opened, he has been from innocence to experience to a higher innocence. It is the best, the only, the central story of fall, redemption and resurrection into the life of Eternity - Eternity meaning existing in the here and now, appreciating what is here and now, not worrying about things going on “forever”. I couldn’t have seen this film at a better time. I have accepted that sex without love, anonymous sex, extra-marital sex (but see my comments on the word “marriage” in Coming Up) is profoundly wrong. Not morally wrong but something which does not feel right. Just like Cruise doesn’t feel right at the orgy. So for me the film was about sex - but not in the abstract. It could just have well been about doing the wrong job or being in with the wrong crowd or living the wrong life. Which is why Kubrick makes the orgy absurd, mythic and satanic rather than sexy or realistic. Kubrick’s film is one of poetic images, signs, not journalistic recreations. Cruise’s whole journey is the dream of a man’s life. But the journey has to be undertaken, the knowledge of the darker desires has to be faced and transcended. Otherwise the Dionysian will erupt and destroy, as it almost does for Cruise in the film & certainly does for the dead model. Everyone who has died did so for everyone who now lives - that they might see their example and turn away from the forces of darkness and chaos. Which is why the model really does die for Cruise but also why Pollack can offer a “natural” explanation. The film is profoundly for living in the bosom of those you love, not judging them but accepting their dark side & integrating it. Only then can we satisfactorily “fuck”. A great, profound, wonderful movie: thank God for Kubrick and I pray the angels are keeping him loved tonight. He is a master prophet. He does not need the praise of the flea and minnow critics for Eyes Wide Shut - they indeed have their eyes shut and cannot see what he has given us, as they use only their corporeal eye and rational brain. But Kubrick needs visionary communion, a viewer who can see the poetry, see the prophecy, read the signs. He is justified. The final key to reading visionary art: don’t see everything as separate. All is One. Every character in a dream is you. -- 18 September 1999

It's simply the best story ever put on film. Every scene is excellent and for different reasons. That is the first time that personally ever happened in a motion picture. A brilliant piece of film art from a director who knows how to tell a story. A Stanley Kubrick Film EYES WIDE SHUT ****/**** --

Vince Ynzunza (TheOgrabme@aol.com) wrote:
Fitting end to the greatest directing career in cinema history. Always will haunt my mind. Nicole Kidman named for an Oscar perhaps. (not too bad looking eiher.) -- 9-18-99

Jorge Restrepo (jrestrep@epm.net.co) wrote:
As a Spanish-speaking person I would like to comment on the title of the movie. The word WIDE would seem to refer to OPEN, not to SHUT EYES, making an insinuation to daydreams. The translation in Spanish as "Eyes very closed " looses this insinuation. Also, I do not agrre with one of the reviewers (W Frith) that Alice actually had sex with the navy official; it was only an unfulfilled desire. It is an intriguing film and probably we will never know all of Kubrick´s motivations -- september 19/99

I saw this movie yesterday and it took me till now, to get out of the dense feeling, back to reality! Wow - what an art! -- 09-21-99

tracey (tmalesa@prodigy.net) wrote:
Upon first viewing, I was'nt sure what to make of this film. I have been a long-time fan of Kubrick, but I was (I think) a bit thrown by the cast. It was not until a second viewing that I realized just what a masterpiece this fil really was. -- 9/23/99

tmalesa (tmalesa@prodigy.net) wrote:
I'll keep it short and sweet. One of Kubrick's most important works. If Jung were alive, oh, the things that he would say about Kubrick's treament of archetypal imagery and the unconsios mind. Form and content were both brilliant. The grainy film stock and the exaggerated use of color really drove it all home. This film should serve as a reminder that none of us are above what we we would think of as "ïnconceivable acts" when we are in our subconscious or unconscious minds. It reminds of of the importance of awareness and the foibles of an ego-driven human nature. Powerful stuff. -- 9/23/99

Justin (Newdeal@gte.net) wrote:
The best film of the year it deserves to be compared to Dr. Strangelove,2001, and Clockwork like all kubrickfilms it opens tomixed reviews some critics point out major flaws but everthing i this movie was there for a reason then some say its great the latter is correct but in 20 years film buffs will look back and say its one of the greatest movies ever -- 9/25/99

Bieri Reto (reto10@hotmail.com) wrote:
Best motion picture of the centhury... -- 27.9.1999

Seeing "Eyes wide shut" is undoubtedly a great cinematic experience. Kubricks stylistic talent hasnt seen higher quality since he made clockwork in Clockwork ( how about that initializing ceremony?), but what about the story? Inbetween the extasy of form more beautiful than the female protagonist I couldnt get this troublesome thought out of my head " was the old man kidding". Images of Kubrick in santaclause outfil sitting in a forest of wulgar xmastrees haunt me. Was this present a pitchblack gag, a syntesis of trash litterature and filmart in its most magnificent manifestation? I wonder! --

Luciano (lnmail@tin.it) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut? Un'odissea. Bill Harford? Il nuovo David Bowman. E' evidente il collegamento sottolineato dal fatto che in una scena di esterni mentre Bill attraversa a piedi le strade della grande mela, si nota in secondo piano una scritta: "BOWMAN". La differenza e' che Bill non si trova impotente rispetto a un'intelligenza superiore ma al potere e all'opulenza dell'uomo. Il Dottor Harford e' un uomo convinto di essersi realizzato: sposato da nove anni con un'affascinante Alice, padre di una bambina e medico affermato. Ma ad un tratto tutto gli crolla addosso. Alice (punto fermo nella sua vita) gli confessa che sarebbe stata disposta ad abbandonare lui e la bambina per un altro uomo. Bill si trova in una situazione del tutto estranea rispetto alle sue abitudini. E' con questa atmosfera di spiazzamento che inizia l'odissea di Bill tra Paura e Desiderio. Bill dopo la confessione della moglie segue le sue pulsioni, il suo istinto e si libera dei suoi panni di marito e di padre, cerca cio' che ha perso e che andra' sempre piu' perdendo: le sue convinzioni. L'arcobaleno cade dobe vuoi tu...e' forse un anticipo del discorso finale in cui Bill e Alice si confortano sostenendo falsamente che il destino si costruisce insieme, progettandolo con amore. Questo dimostra l'ottusita' dei personaggi i quali hanno intravisto la realta', chi in sogno, chi (forse) realmente e ne sono stati fortemente catturati ma ne hanno avuto paura e la loro reazione e' stata quella di nascondersi chiudendo gli occhi (occhi spalancati chiusi). I protagonisti credono di poter raggiungere la fine dell'arcobaleno con le loro forze ma questo non e' possibile, il destino non si puo' progettare. Bill per comprare il vestito utilizzato alla festa in maschera va in un negozio di costumi (Rainbow). Qui e' in corso un orgia tra due uomini e la figlia del padrone del negozio. In seguito Bill si trovera' in una situazione simile ma ancora piu' perversa (escalation di perversione) quando la strana festa in maschera si rivela essere un'orgia di corpi e di potere al di la della quale gli occhi di Bill non possono vedere (occhi spalanacati chiusi). Bill e' impotente. E' un uomo finito, ha perso la speranza e non riesce forse non puo' andare oltre. Ora e' nell'odissea della paura e in balia di cio' che non capisce e non vede. Lui non puo' nulla contro il potere, era convinto di essere libero ma non e' libero di niente, neanche di vedere l'avversario in faccia. La sua situazione peggiora perche prima era solo spiazzato nella sua vita sentimentale ora tutto non coincide con i suoi canoni. Ad un tratto qualcosa cambia un ragazza lo salva. E' "fortunato di essere vivo" come aveva detto prima alla improvvisata paziente in overdose nella casa di Ziegler e come gli verra ricordato dalla prima pagina di un quotidiano. Ziegler spiega a Bill che la festa era un'enorme sciarada, ma la vera sciarada non e' la festa in maschera bensi' il mondo in cui viviamo. E' proprio il giono seguente a fargli comprendere la grandezza che lo circonda. Bill, il giorno seguente, si sentira' ancora piu' piccolo. Tutto non quadra piu' ormai e lui e' stato coinvolto in qualcosa di cosi' grande che non sa come reagire. E' spinto da un forte desiderio di comprendere la realta', ma non riuscira' piu' ad avvicinarsi come aveva fatto "casualmente" la sera prima. Il finale, secondo me , e' uno dei piu' pessimisti del cinema di Kubrick. Bill e Alice chiudono gli occhi dopo aver assaporato un po' di realta', rifiutandosi di scoprirla o forse, ironia kubrickiana, non sanno neanche di averla intravista. E' un film potente ricco e denso di significati non soltanto nel senso classico in cui siamo abbituati dagli altri registi. Kubrick ha fatto un lavoro magistrale, il film sembra dipinto. Usa l'immagine e il colore per esprimere i significati. Importantissimi sono il rosso, il blu, il giallo ed il bianco luccicante (shining). Il rosso utilizzato in precendenza dal regista rappresenta l'istinto, la pulsione, la parte provocatoria e il desiderio. Il blu rappresenta la paura. Spettacolare l'inquadratura nella quale Bill e Alice sono abbracciati e sullo sfondo l'altra stanza ha un colore blu, la paura incombe su di loro prima ancora che tutto sia cambiato dopo la discussione che stanno per iniziare. Molto simboliche sono le due modelle che lo intrattengono al party, quella di sinistra rossa l'altra gialla. L'una provocatrice l'altra mediatrice. Il film e' un capolavoro senza tempo, una degna opera finale del piu' grande regista mai esistito. -- 2 ottobre 1999

Andrea Corese (andrea.corese@tiscalinet.it) wrote:
I saw the movie on Friday (italian premiere), late show, and I was wondering about a couple of things. The first one is the value of the movie, the second one is the link with the original novel. Well, my first impression was that the movie is not a masterpiece like other Kubrick's movies were (and, above all, 2001 - ACO - Barry Lyndon - Shining): a great movie, not a masterpiece...but I was suddenly thinking that perhaps I was expecting too much from this movie and I hadn't faced with Tom Cruise acting in a S.K.'s movie... The link with Traumnovelle is, according to my opinion, too strong: and, even worse, everything is simplified! Perhaps the movie should have ended before, without too many explanations... Anyway, I need a second show and I'd better watch it as soon as possible! Best regards to all Kubrick's fans, may his genius always be upon us, Adrea. -- October 3rd 1999

Hari Politopoulos (besthari@hotmail.com) wrote:
Enchanting. Thought provoking. Perplexing. It told me something about the dreamy unreality of reality and something about the reality of dreams. SK is a little distant, a little disengaged, somewhat sarcastic, ambiguous, ambivelant as if all this is no longer a great concern for him, as if he is ready to ...depart! Nevertheless he does care and his message is optimistic. He does defend one of the institutions of civilised man : marriage! Kidman acts and is impressive. Cruise often seems by comparison as if he just stands there but he is not bad. Many of the smaller parts are played and directed superbly. Overall a deep and subtle experience not a great, exciting one. I have seen it twice and I will see it again. -- October 4, 1999

daniel (daniel1502@hotmail.com) wrote:
all -- 05-10-99

Ray (raynilcr@hotmail.com) wrote:
Very Sensatinal -- 6/10/99

Butchman86 (Butchman86@aol.com) wrote:
I'm a thirteen year old kubrick fan. I can't review EWS because I'm too young to see it. After the masterpieces, called "A Clockwork Orange" and "2001:A Space Ody. I can't help and wonder how Eyes wide shut would be. Pardon my french, but what the hell!? Do you think I want to see this movie to see Nicole Kidman's boobs? Heck no! I'm not too young to understand his greatness. I've seen Dr.Strangelove,Lolita,ACO,2001,and Full metal Jacket. After seeing 2001, I've decided to start making movies. I'd just like to say, one of these days I hope to see Eyes wide shut. I hope to be a famous director too. It wouldn't be possible with out Stanley Kubrick. Thanks, for everything Stanley. -- October 8, 1999

Richard Grenville Clark (fcarter@lineone.net) wrote:
Echoes of ideas from Amadeus and Interwiew with a Vampire inform the viewer's general sense of the psychological terrain being explored: erotic nightmare or dream ? ; a plot by the Hungarian ( presumably leader of the hedonists/occultists ) to seduce the female protaganist ?; a black -edged reverie induced by pot ! ; an illustration of the age-old fight between good and evil ,cleverly layered to include us in the fray; a modern morality play by a filmic anthropologist ? ; the dystopic vision of an ageing fantasist? -- Sunday 10th October,1999

Samantha Stewart
Eyes Wide Shut is the best motion piture!!! --

T.Clark (fcarter@lineone.net) wrote:
Cold,bleak,overlong and over-hyped. -- 10th October

s.clark (fcarter@lineone.net) wrote:
A tour-de-force -- 10/10/99

mark cauble (mcauble@bcconline.com) wrote:
During the scene in the bar, when Tom Cruise,s character is talking to his piano playing buddy, right behind the two of them, you will see Mr. and Mrs. Kubrick. Another tidbit is when Cruise buys a newspaper the headline is "Lucky to be Alive." -- 10-11-99

Brandon Boudreaux (quilty@bellsouth.net) wrote:
A quick comment: Has anyone considered that EWS is the other side of the coin from Clockwork Orange. Clockwork Orange dealt with society restraining the true nature of man, while in EWS we find that many times the only person who restrains Dr. Bill from acting out his desires is himself. Just a thought. -- 10/11/99

fabio costantino (fabiocostantino@libero.it) wrote:
mr.KUBRICK you are the most important genious director of cinema. your films will stay in our mind for long long time. a italian friend fabio -- 12 october 1999

Giulio (floril@dada.it) wrote:
I've seen the film this afternoon now like for each other of Kubrick i'm thinking of it and i can't stop. Probably it's like to ear a great composition immediatly after you can't understand the sensation it bring to you, only after some time you realize the meaning of it and only after repeat you appreciate it for entire or at the best of your sensibility -- 17/10/99

Vermont (sbgr@cybercable.fr) wrote:
I've just seen the director's cut of 'The Shining' on cable TV. Everything Kubrick cut deserved to be. But what struck me was a line said by Danny: "It's only images in a book!" Kubrick was a great film-maker, but not a genius. His concept of cinema was a bit static (that's why his camera moves so much). The same is true with 'Eyes Wide Shut' - images in a book. I do not condone most of the bad reviews coming from the american audience (obviously they're not able to watch a movie any more, eyes wide open or shut for that matter). You understand why Kubrick left this country where just anybody's opinion seems to matter so much. The truth is, when an amrican audience is confronted to an art film, they flip out. Illiteracy is certainly a plague, but they're not ashamed to expose it, as if the rest of the world was sentenced to hear their 'opinions' for ever, and ever, and ever… That would be a perfect illustration of hell seen by the late master. 'Eyes Wide Shut' is a very good movie. In fact, the main theme is quite close to The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. But it lacks the magic of great cinema where, according to Douglas Sirk, "motion is emotion". It would be too long to make my point. I would rather write in French… Anyway, Eyes Wide Shut does not deserve to be praised as a masterpiece, but certainly not as a bad movie. The photography, especially is brilliant and magic, alive with what seems to be an inner life, something that evokes impressionism and reality perceived under the influence of a psychedelic drug. My humble reading of the story (which perhaps explains most of the negative reviews) lies in the fact that the Harford couple is a very middle-class and mediocre one. Their life is boring, the music they listen to is appaling, and last but not least their sexual fantasies are absolutely a drag. But, after all, in a nation where only serial killers seem to have an interesting sexual life, who could be surprised? -- 19/10/99

Gavin Fields (gfields@ucla.edu) wrote:
Thank you Mr. Kubrick for allowing me, once again, to dream with eyes wide open. Thank you Mr. Kubrick. Your "vision of the modern world has altered our perceptions of it." Unquestionably the finest film released this year. -- 10/21/99

Chuck (kubrick@bellsouth.net) wrote:
"Eyes Wide Shut" is definitely one of Kubrick's best films, a harrowingly bizarre masterpiece of obsession of love. The film is a masterpiece, perfectly acted with an orgy scene that is truly unforgettable. Don't miss that last scene! -- 10/21/99

steve lawler (stevelawler@hotmail.com) wrote:
I have just recently watched EWS and thought it was Fantastic and brimming with detail. I loved its references to the Shining visually and know that there is a lot I have missed. I am not a reviewer but I am writing to point out that I think I saw a cameo by SK in the 'Sonata Bar' enjoying a drink to Bill's left hand side... I may be wrong but you should check! thanks steve. -- 25-10-99

I think that we are obsessed with sex especially in the way it is seen by men and through the camera we are voyeurs. Nudity and eroticism is natural parts of art in general, but sex is not men's eye as a subject and women's bodies as an object. -- 29.10.99

Lee Ricketts (kingmonkey@webmail.co.za) wrote:
Nice one - a masterpiece to go on the shelf with his others, if not his greatest ever. Is it me, or did anyone else notice that, despite all the hype and theories, "EWS" is basically a retake on Poes "The Masque Of The Read Death"? All responses welcome. -- 30 October 1999

Kostas Andreadis (zelda64@bigpond.com) wrote:
the movie was fucking sik kubrick is goddd -- 6348/65398/4698

Cristian Mihu (cmihu@yahoo.com) wrote:
??????????? don not understand -- 2 nov 1999

Michael (ews_tyson@hotmail.com) wrote:
It's not just a film. It the greatest exemple of modern (and most passed) ART. If there ever was, "the art film" this is it. It's unique and extremely haunting and a simply perfect film. I love this film. 10/10 I pray it's out in time for Christmas! On dvd of course. And unedited. EWS is excellent. -- 1999 11 05

uog (hljj) wrote:
lhhlhb -- hlhlh

Kosta Andreadis (zelda64@bigpond.com) wrote:
the review entered in my name above was not written or authorised by me, my views on the film are not a simple minded as to use a scott-esque way of describing a film above his head........ -- 06/10/99

"EWS" was the best movie by Stanley Kubrick. I want to thank him and his genius. Thank you --

Vic (bvburrows@yahoo.com) wrote:
The subject matter was intriguing, the relationships human and complex. The interweaving of conflict and reaction was superb. A classic Kubrick show, don't tell. I found it interesting how the passion between Kidman and Cruise was diluted. Their lack of emotional desire was a weak spot. The couple's interviews and comments miss lead the public to believing they would see something more intimate. -- 11/99

Mr Nick Knightingale (NickKN@yahoo.co.uk) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut is a masterful look at the nature of betrayal and deceipt in a marriage made in heaven. It investigates the darkest corners of the human mind, and tries to find a distinction between the dream world and fantastic ideas, and the real world where the thoughts and ideas occur. At th end of the film Alice and Bill's eyes are open, but before the acts of betrayal they were closed, despite looking; an idea echoed by the masked participents of the party who look bu cannot see. -- 11/9/99

fidelio (fidelio@hotmail.com) wrote:
Eyes Wide shut is rubbish. How dare Kubrick make me waste money to see such arogant and protentious rubbish. It is an absolute disgrace to kubrick and his legacy. -- 11/9/99

fidelio (fidelio@hotmail.com) wrote:
Eyes Wide shut is rubbish. How dare Kubrick make me waste money to see such arogant and protentious rubbish. It is an absolute disgrace to kubrick and his legacy. -- 11/9/99

It's a work of great art! "The Thin Red Line" was very confusing to some people also... It just shows us what peoples first interpretations are on masterful poetic art films. It's called art phobia. "Eyes Wide Shut" gives us room to breath and to have fun with the film, find the hidden messages and make sense of the scenes(ex: Was the mask real or a part of Bill's imagination?) but always personal and different to each person. It's extraordinary and a winner!!!!!! -- 1999 11 12

stupidfreak (stupid@freak.com) wrote:
eyes wide shut sucks really badly. How can u say it is good when my dad told me it was rubbish. My dad is always right and you lot are a buch of silly billys -- 12/13/00

Tapio Merilä (tapmer@netscape.net) wrote:
Very good film and I founded some similarities with David Lynch's Lost Highway. I can't wait this film to on video and DVD. -- 16.11.1999



Steven (Headphoney@yahoo.com) wrote:
When Dr. Bill Harford speaks to the hotel desk clerk, the storefront sign in the background that reads "Brasserie" is obscured so that all that is seen is "ass". When Dr. Bill Harford visits the prostitutes' apartment towards the end, a flier can be scene on the wall outside the entrance that advertises classes on "Dream-Oriented Psychotherapy". As Dr. Bill Harford walks with Domino on the street they pass a set of blue doors before coming to her red doors...in case you thought the color of doors (or anything in the movie) was irrelevant, Kubrick conveniently puts a paint store in the background. Is Dr. Bill Harford fearful of being a middle-aged man? Do all the bald characters in the film represent middle age? The costume shop owner is going Bald, his name is Milich, but when he says it with his thick accent, it sounds a little like "middle-age". Email me if you're interested in more strange clues (none of my friends appreciated the movie enough to care). -- 11-19-99

Giovanni Ronda (Gioronda73@yahoo.it) wrote:
Così come "Full Metal Jacket", "Eyes Wide Shut" è un film che non vuole avere una struttura: quello termina, come in un gigantesco bozzolo nero , sul gruppo di marines che avanzano nella notte divorata dalle fiamme, questo con i due protagonisti uno di fronte all'altro. E in ambedue i casi (come pure in "Arancia meccanica") drastico e risoluto Kubrick, detto quello che doveva dire e mostrato quello ciò che voleva, chiude il film. Due coniugi affrontano separatamente due notti differenti ma contrassegnate da desideri di fuga e tradimento. Nonostante questo, il destino lavora per salvarli e preservarne l'integrità, quel destino che alla fine ringrazieranno. La gelosia di Bill, che lo spinge ad una serie di incontri evanescenti e inquietanti, in cui i personaggi femminili si sovrappongono e scompaiono, e il viaggio selvaggio di Alice nel desiderio del sogno, fanno divergere le loro vite fino ad un punto in cui ricominceranno a toccarsi. E l'idea del sesso risulterà salva: è essa che subisce maggiormente i colpi inferti dai segreti poteri del mondo (interiore ed esterno); il martirio del sentimente sessuale, dalla lugubre scena dell'orgia all'ossessione di Bill al racconto del sogno alla triste realtà dell'Aids, è costante, ma è ancora possibile per il verbo "scopare" (pronunciato da Alice con una tale espressione che esso sembra provenire dalla sua mente prima ancora che dalla sua bocca) vivere tra i due personaggi con la trasparenza del cristallo. Dal "doppio scontro" frontale con eros e thanatos Bill e Alice sono usciti incolumi, e il senso della notte trascorsa, che abbiamo avvertito fluttuare intorno a noi, può scorrere verso l'ultima inquadratura, donando a quella paroletta un sapore familiare e desueto insieme, quasi "rivoluzionario". -- 11-22-99

Eric Archer (eric @thegkb.com) wrote:
A good film to check out with. -- 12-12-99

sol minilia
Deffinatly one of Kubrick's best. I was a bit disapointed with the photography, which I expected to be more like the stuff in "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining". But it had an iteresting lighting composition (lots of magenta christmas lights) and other very redeeming acting and production values. I was also rather pleased to find some of the unusual sex-related humor that Kubrick likes to incert in his movies. The scene in Zigler's bathroom, for example with the stoned and naked girl sitting in the chair as Zigler pulls his pants up was, at first sight, almost as shockingly funny as the orgy sequence in "A Clockwork Orange".I am 13 by the way and I saw it with my mom, who didn't hate it but didn't like it eather. --

Andrew Neale (acn@afts.com.au) wrote:
All the shouting has died down, but the films remain. We thank you, Stanley Kubrick. -- 16 Jan 2000

Clinton Morgan (arf.clint@excite.com) wrote:
Like rock&roll and jazz, cinema is the art form of the 20th Century and what better than to close with a film by the cinematic genius of the latter half. This picture is well made and unlike most efforts nowadays has pace and takes time to tell a story. Like Luis Bunel before him, Kubrick has succeeded in transforming the language of dream. The only gripe I have is that a section is a bit like a Ferrero Rocher commercial and the use of the Chris Issak song is an attempt to ape Tarantino. Tarantino is great but Kubrick is infinite. -- Tuesday 25th January 2000

4 (4) wrote:
444 4 -- 4

greg freeman
from the initial excitement i entered the theater hoping to see stanley kubrick's greatest film and as the lights went out and anticipation mounted i was deeply disapointed by what i had just seen. The first time I watched it, I was transfixed, but this was a less than analytical observation. The photography was stunning, but that it is to be expected in any Kubrick film. What ultimately sank it, and is typical of many Kubrick films was the catatonic acting.I went in hoping to see another aspect of Tom Cruises' acting style, but instead it was just outright laughable. Nicole Kidman fares no better. I wish that Kubrick had stuck to AI instead of making this waste of film. All we are tantelized with now are vague images of what might have been another masterpiece. It will not be Eyes Wide Shut. -- february 2 2000

m. scotto (castrotele@aol.com) wrote:
a visual masterpiece. the film was put down for the characters seemingly lack of emotion. the cold dialogue is typical of kubrick's work. it is the crux of all his films. to dislike the film for that reason is to dislike kubrick. i also feel that hollywood films have 'progressed' in such a fashion that a film like "eyes wide shut" could not be accepted by the major movie going public. it might be too cerebral in contrast to the type of films we are used to seeing in major release theatres. my only problem with the film had to do with some of the editing. i'm not sure who edited the film but i felt that it could have been done a bit better; but hey, nobody's perfect. can't wait to buy a VHS copy. -- 2-11-00

Paul Bissett (pbissett@one.net.au) wrote:
http://web.one.net.au/~pbissett/reviews/Eyes.html -- 12/2/00

Paul Bissett (pbissett@one.net.au) wrote:
According to John Baxter's biography of Stanley Kubrick, the genius behind 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Spartacus (1960), Paths of Glory (1957) and more, felt incredibly guilty about the suicidal death of his first wife. According to Baxter, Kubrick felt that it was his jealousy of his first wife's fantasies and imagined infidelities that led her to her premature death. If this is the case, then Eyes Wide Shut (1999) must be his apology for, or at least his exploration of, his past. Eyes Wide Shut begins at a well populated party, a gathering of people. As everyone knows, a gathering of people is much more dangerous than one person in solitude. Things happen, flirtations happen and the jealousy begins. From this point the film follows Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise), an over confident, sexy doctor with a beautiful wife Alice (Nicole Kidman), and their seven year old daughter. After the party organised by a wealthy client of Bill, Bill states that men want to have sex with women, because they are women. Alice disagrees claiming that women are more than just sexual beings for the benefit of men. She argues her case whilst flouncing around in a see-through top and underwear, unaware of the irony. Annoyed, Alice announces to Bill that she once lusted after a man, a sailor no less, to encourage a little jealousy in her cocky lover who had been flirting all night. Nicole's unfulfilled fantasies weigh heavily on Tom's mind until he is led to do things, weird things that he would never have dreamt of. He is faced with an AIDS scare, he attends an orgy, he pays a prostitute for not sleeping with him. This was no ordinary night. The good Dr. Harford not only becomes jealous, but embarks on a mission of revenge against his wife, to have one night filled with sordid affairs as a form of inconceivable punishment. During his wild night, Harford meets numerous characters who are somehow entwined in a dark and seedy world, perhaps the most immoral being the father of a teenage girl who sells his daughter' virginity to two middle-aged men. This film is beautifully photographed. Kubrick's obsession with bright primary colours against pale backgrounds creates stark settings and beautiful surroundings for the most beautiful couple in the world to inhabit. It was not by accident that arguably Hollywood's hottest couple was hired for this film. This is a beautiful film about beautiful things, about beautiful bodies in a beautiful city. In fact it is when the dark issue of infidelity is raised that Tom and Nicole's world is turned upside down. Baby did a bad, bad thing! Like the plot, the music is very penetrating, almost to the point of discomfort. Kubrick knew the music was monotonous, and I feel that he was trying not only to create a feeling of suspense but also to drive home his message of infidelity being a penetration of the mind, not just of the body. The film reminds you of this with each solitary high note on the piano. With all this said, I would like to add my criticisms. I felt that the film was too long for what it was. I usually don't mind films that are slow, as long as they have a lot to say - Meet Joe Black for example. However, when I went into the cinema I was aware of the length of the film and was prepared, yet I was unfulfilled. This is very much a man's movie. It is written by a man, about a man dealing with men's obsession with sex. This movie really starred Tom Cruise, and not Nicole Kidman. Her character, Alice, barely got a look in. I think it could have been a much stronger film had it dealt with both male and female issues and fantasies, rather than giving so much detail on just the male. We have seen this type of film from Kubrick before in Lolita (1962), where we see nothing of the character Lolita except through Humbert Humbert's eyes, her older lover. It is told solely from one point of view. This, like the primary colours is a favourite style of Kubrick, seen in a lot of his films, Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange 2001:. Perhaps, once again, this was a deliberate choice by Kubrick, as he was a filmmaker who is very much against the Hollywood system. Perhaps to show both sides, intercut and juxtaposed with each other would have been too 'Hollywood' for the man who moved to England to escape the 'Dream Factory'. -- 12/2/00

Kevin (KubeEWS69@aol.com) wrote:
I thought that Eyes Wide Shut was truly one of his best works of art. Along with A Clockwork Orange, 2001, and Dr. Stranglove. I thought it was a thought porvoking masterpiece of chilling sexual obsession and lustful jealously. Kubrick has made a wonderful final film. -- 2/23/00

Giovanni Ronda (gioronda73@yahoo.it) wrote:
SU EYES WIDE SHUT-PARTE SECONDA.Un film sull'enigma della vita narrato con l'impalpabilità della musica, e che come la musica non sai esattamente cosa ti stia dicendo. Così è il film di Kubrick, prossimo ad un apparente niente: un'apparente mancanza di dramma, per temi immensi come l'eros, la sessualità e la gelosia. Prendiamo "L'inferno" di Chabrol: un film terribile, insostenibile, sulle reazioni di un uomo al presunto tradimento della sua bella moglie. Chabrol dice: "Guarda un po' qua quanto ho capito come tu, uomo, arrivi a patire per la carne della donna che credi ti appartenga! Guarda le tue viscere, e ammira come io le conosco". E qualcuno di noi pensava che potesse fare così anche Kubrick...che all'opposto fa attraversare i suoi protagonisti dalla gelosia sotto i nostri occhi, ma non permette alla forza di gravità della passione di sostare (gli spettatori di "Eyes Wide Shut" hannno qualcosa in comune con alcuni personaggi di "2001", che si aggirano a gravità zero). Si avverte solo peer pochi attimi, proprio al momento in cui le immagini la manifestano. E così fa con la sessualità. Il corpo della Kidman è subito inquadrato, giusto per mostrarne la nudità; il regista di cui parliamo non cadrà mai, ovviamente, nell'(auto)inganno di far vedere la bella attrice nuda perchè la storia (finalmente) lo richiede (lo consente...).Kubrick dice nudo, dice gelosia, dice erotismo, dice mistero, ma non vuole opprimere con questi contenuti lo spettatore, vuole appoggiarsi e andare. Non gli interessano l'intensità, ma le subitanee sfumature dinamiche (come nella confessione di Alice, dove i due elementi si uniscono, e anche qui senza che per un solo istante troppa intensità prevarichi sul resto della miscela dinamica: ecco il carattere fluttuante, che scivola direttamente nell'inconscio, di questa scena); è un film che suscita piccoli sorrisi, tenui malinconie, brevi riflessioni, eteree inquietudini morali. I colori che dominano, l'azzurro, il blu, il rosso, il color crema, rivestono quest'intarsio levigato di accenni ai desideri ed ai dolori profondi, nel quale, come in un bozzolo serico, non ingombrato da troppe forti emozioni, i cuori di Bill e Alice possiamo vederli, pur se ciascuno apparentemente perduto nel proprio sogno, pulsare all'unisono per tutto l'arco del film, in trasparenza delicata anche se sorretta da immagini pastose e calde. Questa solidità e questa magnificenza, da taluni trovata fuori misura rispetto alla storia raccontata, fa invece da contrappunto. Eric Rohmer nei suoi film (per altro belli)suggerisce:"Guarda l'amore e guarda come questi attori veri e semplici esprimono i sentimenti più reali", Kubrick dice: "Guarda come la scena è popolata di corpi, colori, forme, maschere, osserva come è sontuosa, ma rilevane l'insieme: il tutto è uno scrigno, ed è forte, affinchè l'amore ospitato possa, non contaminato, irraggiare la sua luce e divenire visibile. Raphael, il cosceneggiatore, racconta come Kubrick, in fase d'ideazione del film, desse l'impressione di avere il progetto di fotografare i sentimenti. Ha fatto di più. Ha fotografato l'amore protetto nella teca delle forme, e ha parlato (con la punta impercettibile di un moralista sublime) di una coppia e del suo inusitato coraggio di stare, con sincerità, l'uno di fronte all'altra, spiritualmente e sensualmente: per Alice è possibile dire ancora, con vertiginosa serietà, la parola "scopare" come risposta al male. -- 16-2-2000

test (test) wrote:
test -- 3/13/00

David McCarrie (jak007dak) wrote:
What do you say to someone who doesn't like this film? I try to defend it but my arguments can always be turned around and discredited. You either like it or you don't like it. With all of Kubrick's films the same can be said. You either love it or hate it. My favorite Kubrick is "Barry Lyndon". "Eyes" is alot like "Lyndon". Similar running time and pacing. "Eyes" is pure Kubrick. Cold and damn near inhuman. So unlike anything else out there, except for Cronenberg's "Crash". It was completely mispromoted and word of mouth killed it after its great opening weekend. -- 3/15/00

David McCarrie (jak007dak) wrote:
What do you say to someone who doesn't like this film? I try to defend it but my arguments can always be turned around and discredited. You either like it or you don't like it. With all of Kubrick's films the same can be said. You either love it or hate it. My favorite Kubrick is "Barry Lyndon". "Eyes" is alot like "Lyndon". Similar running time and pacing. "Eyes" is pure Kubrick. Cold and damn near inhuman. So unlike anything else out there, except for Cronenberg's "Crash". It was completely mispromoted and word of mouth killed it after its great opening weekend. It is a shame that most of the world will think Kubrick when out with a whimper and not a bad. "Eyes" is brilliant. In a way that only Kubrick can be. Hey, let's give much credit to Jan Harlan and Frederic Raphael. And a shout out to Stanley directing the big man upstairs. -- 3/15/00

Roger Crabtree (rogerwade@mailcity.com) wrote:
KUbrick's obsession with sex and obsession. Kubrick has repeatedly dealt with the subject of obsession ( Killer's Kiss, The Killing, Lolita, Barry Lyndon, The Shining ). He has also explored sexuality in was that no other film maker would have dared to ( Killer's Kiss, Lolita, A Clockwork Orange, and that wierd jet sex scene behind the opening credits of Dr. Stangelove). It is only natural that the two would come together in one of his own obsessions, bring Arthur Schnitzler's "Traumnovelle" to the screen. Since 1975 ther have been rummors suggesting that he was working on this project. It is fitting that this is his last film, an end to one of his continuing obsessions. The film appears to be a dream, a dream that most people in a serious relationship have had. A dream about trying something new, and the consequences if they do. This is Kubrick's most human film. Stanley, I miss you! -- 03/17/2000

Fred (fatkey@telusplanet.net) wrote:
Just saw Eyes Wide Shut on video. What a bizzare movie! Never thought I would see Tom Cruise in this kind of movie. Go back to flying planes Tom, you're much better off! This was supposed to be such a sexual stimulating movie, however, this was NOT a sexually inticing movie at all. I did nothing to get me aroused. The simulated sex at the weird party blocked out by people standing around was a joke. The non-sex between Bill and the hooker was supposed to send us a message; like what? go to a hooker, leave your cell phone on and when the wife phones pay and leave? Like, give me a break. The movie was far too long. Some scenes dragged on forever. My wife and I were like B-O-R-I-N-G. I'm glad I didn't waste the $8.50 to see this movie. The critics here were right about this movie giving it only one star. So, if your reading this review wondering if you should rent it, DON'T!! If your looking for a sex movie, rent a good porno. -- March 19, 2000

rich hughes (rickughes_42@yahoo.com) wrote:
How dare Warner Brothers try to alter the original EWS. In 1971, Stanley Kubrick was told that his "Clockwork Orange" would have to receive an "X" rating because of the sped up sex scene between Alex and two ladies. Kubrick was not happy about this, but since he had the "Final Cut", and was able to supercede the choices of the "money counters" at WB, he chose,(as most artists would have), to have the original cut released in the X version. Eyes Wide Shut is an exquisite masterpiece, and should be presented to the entire world as such. Why is it that us folks in America (LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE BRAVE) should be the only ones to have to see an altered version. Hey, I don't care, the subject matter of this movie is not of interest to anyone under the age of 18 or 21 anyway, so why do we get stuck with the"MONA LISA" with the "moustache painted on her face"? I will not watch, purchase or deal with any "Warner Brothers" product until I get at least an explanation, if not a copy of an "NC-17" version of "the Master's" last and final piece of art. -- 3/20/00

Dr.Boess (peererik@hotmail.com) wrote:
Yeah,yeah,i know "Eyes wide shut" isnt supposed to be as good as Kubricks older movies.I dont care.Its lovable.Period. --

Ahh, the irony of Kubrick. As I'm sitting there waiting for the much ballyhooed orgy scenes and Kidman/Cruise sparks, I realize about two-thirds of the way through that I've been hoodwinked by the master. What Stanley wants me to see is that great sex is in the bedroom between married couples, far away from prying eyes. Cold, robotic, death inducing, sex is reserved for those who break with that one fact. The irony is that this is a movie about the problems of lust and voyeurism and here we're sitting there watching it, waiting for the hyped up orgy scene. Ignoring the boring kid learning math at the table and wanting to see Bill do it with prostitutes. In fact, Kubrick leads us in (and so did the ad campaigns) only to suggest that the hottest sex is off-screen, safe in the connection that only two individuals in tune to each other can have. It's amazing to me that the perfectionistic Kubrick, I thought would film such erotic images, actually went out and posed Kidman and Cruise in the most coldly un-sensual ways imaginable. And then he filmed an orgy with so much distance and claustrophobia it was hard to miss his point. Shame on me for wanting to see Tom and Nicole do the nasty, in real life their bedroom is far more than I could ever see on film (or in magazines?). With one grand summation, Kubrick suggests we could all have happy marriages (and lives) if we just got down and f----- the one person we sometimes fantasize the least about. Not a bad way to end a career. Thanks for taking me down the rabbit hole. I've never regretted it. -- 3-27-00

John Masluk (65NovaII@netscape.net) wrote:
I thought it was great. The camera shots and the use of colors were fantastic. What i would like to know is what was the reason or meaning behind the use of either bright red and blue colors in just about every scene. Also there were always christmas lights in alot of scenes. I know it was set around christmas but the lights were showing up in wierd places. If anyone reading this know i would be delighted if you would e-mail me with an answer. Thanks -- 03/29/00

bob philbin (philbin@ezonline.com) wrote:
Unfortunately SK's final film is far from memorable, primarily, though not entirely, the result of poor casting, although the screen writing is perhaps the weakest of SK's career. The film never really moves, it stalls repeatedly with close shots of Mr. Cruise, a fine actor totally lifeless and unacceptable as the doctor and Ms. Kidman's forced performance of the doctor's dullard wife. The story was so victorian in its simplistic morality and tedious twists as to be exhausting to the viewer no matter how hopeful. SK is only at home in the war movie genre. He is a master of the stark drama, morality and story telling evoked by war and I suggest he will be remembered most for his contribution to this much abused (even to this day, ei, Saving Private Ryan by Hollywood synchophants who glorify the war machine that has so dehumanized our century) genre by future generations. -- 3/30/00

TC Graves (bobtroy@pacbell.net) wrote:
I was completely blown away by this movie. I held off on seeing it when it came out at the theater, being sick of all the hype and reviews. I now wish I had seen it at the theater--not only to see this work of art in full splendor--but also to laugh in the faces of those who went to see what they thought would be a soft-core porn movie. In this respect, the bad reviews were quite telling. I wonder if Kubrick intended the ad campaigns that eventually took place--all the secret preview "details" of how Cruise and Kidman were filmed having explicit sex...how they brought in a sex therapist to help super-charge such scenes...even how Cruise would be filmed wearing Nicole's panties. The film's message was the perfect slap in the face for anyone going to see the movie for such reasons. It assaulted what American entertainment has come to--overselling sex to the point that we have lost its true measure. Pollack's character had perfect pitch...a man who thinks he is sexually sophisticated, but who is actually quite pathetic--it takes on double meaning (unintended, I suppose, as Keitel was supposedly the original choice for the role) in that the role is played by an American director. -- 4-2-00

Ziegler (Ripley616@aol.com) wrote:
I may have known Mr.Kubrick in another life, but,I am certain I did not know him in this one. I watched this film on my living room couch in NYC hung over and as near to death as this nouveau dominatrix has yet to experience, and what happens? Every name that I have in my family tree is mentioned.... next time leave me out of it Kisses Mistress Ziegler -- 4/5/00

paul (n2062655@ms35.hinet.net) wrote:
I like it very much. -- 4/21/2000

kevin (kevin01000) wrote:
totally disapointed, thought it would be alot better tan it was which,in a sense,is an embarrasment to all involved.kubrick lost his touch after clockwork.its sad,and i feel sorry to all involved, kubrick was getting by on name alone,a name which i must say is way overrated,2001,classic,strangelove,classic,clockwork,mediocrebut entertaining,everything elese weak,and in cases like eyes,pathedic -- 4/22/00

Glen Saxon (glen@lanset.com) wrote:
Eyes Wide Shut is about sexual obsession. Alice [Kidman’s character] openly admits a hidden fantasy that triggers an irresistible sexual undertow pulling [Cruise's character, Bill] away from his safe, bourgeois shores of his family life. An oddesy into the darkside of desire, no one is totally evil, but no one is truly good here. Kubrick’s traditional trademark of capturing the dark atmospherics of a story with a plot so rich in metaphor that most won’t see it first time around (eyes wide shut) is true movie magic! Masks have eyes that are always wide open -- but they cannot see, masks only hide. Alice dreams in wonderland. Bill keeps paying the bill for admission. Like Kubrick’s other films eyes wide shut will grow to cult status in time, transforming the consciousness of the audience and society. "How does anybody think of anything?"-Stanley Kubrick 1928-1999. EYES WIDE SHUT: A METAPHORIC AND SYMBOLIC ANALASIS Cruise plays an M.D.; Kidman plays his wife. Director and sometime-actor Sydney Pollack, who plays a businessman patient of Cruise's, says the plot's about "a certain kind of sexual obsession." that Kubrick didn't adapt the novel's plot as much as its dark atmospherics, its evocation of an irresistible sexual undertow pulling [Cruise's character] away from his safe, bourgeois shores." In the original 1926 Arthur Schnitzler novella Traumnovelle Cruise's character fantasizes about seducing a dead patient's daughter. Kubrick left this plot point out. The Schnitzler novella, "tells the story of Fridolin and his wife, Albertina, who over the course of two nights succumb to increasingly dangerous fantasies of love and lust.” Pollack read the script in its entirety before stepping in to replace Harvey Keitel. (He says the "Mr. White" rumor about why Keitel left the film is "absolute bullshit,") In reading the script, "there was a sense of something theatrical and horrible about to happen all the time,". "I was riveted from the first page. It's a real sexual thriller." ACT ONE: The Party. Opening scene shows the comfort level Bill & Alice have with each other domestically & sexually, preparing themselves in the bathroom together Alice using the toilet while Bill looks at himself in the mirror, a married couple of eight years. They go to a party and meet their host, Ziegler, a wealthy and powerful man in the medical business but this seems to be the only person Bill knows. "Do you know anybody here?" says Alice. "Not a soul," Bill replies. The other people at the party are faceless, wearing the same clothes and doing the same dance, they are distant strangers & their lack of diversity doesn't seem to change. Wink wink. So Bill and Alice part, as Alice has to go to the bathroom again, or so she says, and Bill wanders off only to be flanked by two models. Alice returns to the main dancing room & now alone downs a few glasses of champagne, her inhibitions lowered and husband off somewhere else. Alice unconsciously places both arms wide behind her on a table as if to say I’m available, when a Hungarian named Szandor wearing the mask of a pure gentleman, invites Alice to dance and he shamelessly dances the dry fuck dance of the seduction with all the power and charm of Dracula. (the camera dances with them in a stunning flow that is captivatingly intoxicating to the eye). The two models are drunk with the power & control their sexuality & setting provides them, they unashamedly lure & direct Bill with physical sexual innuendo toward an ambiguous location with all the unstated promises of unknown pleasures, which is overwhelmingly irresistible to Bill (common theme) when saved by the bell (a common theme through out) one of Ziegler’s men request Bill’s services upstairs, (Bill has to go pull a junkie hooker out of an OD coma in Ziegler's bathroom -- one of Kubrick's favorite places of ill refute, as in The Shining, Sparticus, Full Metal Jacket, Dr. Stranglove, here Bill has his first brush with the sexual elite world of the aristocracy). Here we see our basic theme -- human sexuality and attraction in the face of commitment. Will Bill go off with the models? Will Alice and Szandor's lips meet? It doesn't matter, really, because the foundation has already been set. Is it the action or the thought that counts. Thus Bill and Alice eventually find their way back to one another and go home. Turned on from the flirting at the party, they begin to fondle each other in front of the mirror. Bill is very passionate about the whole thing, but Alice seems to be. . .not disinterested. . .but distracted by her thoughts. She looks into the mirror at herself, as if to ask "What is it that I really want” A question that rises the next night when they have a very heated argument after smoking a joint. The Joint Conversation. It begins when Alice asks Bill who the girls were. "Just some. . .models," replies Bill. Alice asks if he fucked them, and he says that he didn't, he got called away (because Ziegler wasn't feeling well. . .here Bill breaks some ground by lying to Alice, involving himself in Ziegler's world) and besides, he loves her and he wouldn't do it. He asks about Szandor. "What did he want?" "Mmmm. . .sex," Alice says. "You mean he wanted to fuck my wife? Well, that's understandable." Alice finds this hurtful. "Whoa, whoa!" she says. Alice yells at Bill: the only reason any man would talk to me is because they want to fuck me? "Well, we all know how men are," says Bill. "So, by that logic, you wanted to fuck those girls?" Bill calls himself an exception, because he happens to be married, and he loves Alice, and he would never lie to her. Ha. Alice asks about Dr. Bill's female patients; if they think about sex while they're "getting their little titties squeezed." Bill says no, they aren't, because they're afraid of what might be found. This is a pretty weird-sounding statement when it's said, a metaphor for the theme of the movie -- masks and denial. "They're afraid of what I might find." (Aren't we all?) Alice sort of contradicts Bill's notions that women don't think about sex the same way men do by telling him about a Naval Officer she fantasized about, even during sex with Bill, at Cape Cod the previous summer. She tells the story with great passion and detail, and it really seems to tear Bill up, as he sits on the bed completely awestruck by what his wife just told him: even though I love you, and making love with you is good, sometimes I really want other men. The phone rings (saved by the bell again) Bill answers, and the news he gets sounds pretty dire. Bill has to go to visit Marion Nathanson as her father just died. Or, as he puts it, he has "to go over there and show [his] face." (not his mask). The Doppelgangers & the Freudian Doppler effect. Bill crosses town in a cab, in mild shock by his wife’s confession the thought of his wife’s sexual fantasy actually happening plays through his mind. He enters an apartment, where he is met by Marion, the shaky and tearful daughter of one of his patients. This is a very important scene, especially after Bill's conversation with Alice. He walks into a room, where Lou Nathanson lays dead and still attached to his machines., Lou doesn't even look dead, he just looks asleep, and that's even what Marion thought when she found him dead. (another common theme throughout the movie, asleep vs. awake, asleep vs. dead, mask vs. true face,) and is presented in another way in this scene. After chatting about her future with "Carl," Marion who is in a state of Shock, grabs Bill's head and starts kissing him passionately and intoning "I love you I love you I love you," and etc. "Come away with me," she says. Bill replies "Marion, we barely even know each other." This is actually rather ironic, especially in reflection of the previous scene: Alice has enlightened Bill to things he never knew about her, even though he professed to love her. Now he's showing his face. A moment later, Carl enters, and the housekeeper addresses him as "Doctor" Something or another. He even resembles Bill enough for the situation to be strange. He enters the room, where there is a very uncomfortable vibe. This is when we realize that the entire setup is a sort of mockery of Bill and Alice's relationship, and of the entire movie. The characters could very well be interchanged (Marion's hairstyle is the same sort of spindly curl that Alice has, with long pieces hanging down, and blonde) and the whole "face" thing really begins to become a part of the film here. Who's really in love here? Does it even matter? What does the dead man who witnesses all this symbolize? Who knows? Dead men tell no tales. . . Bill calls death "unreal." A Game of Dominoes After leaving the apartment, Bill walks down the street and pounds his fist at the thought of the Naval Officer having sexual contact with his wife as real to bill as if the Naval Officer really slept with Alice. Soon his internal conflicts with his manhood (i.e. "what kind of man loses his woman?") are manifested externally by a group of hard-on fratboys who walk down the street boasting about "Mexican lapdances," and then start taunting and shoving Bill, calling him "machoman" and "loverboy" and calling him gay. Kubrick presents us with an interesting picture of two different ways in which men handle their own sexual fears – self-abasement and ridicule of others. The taunting further intimidates Bills ego, as he almost immediately decides to accept a hooker's offer to "come inside." Bill has realized a way to get back at his wife for her thoughts, a license to wander and the meeting with the hooker is a sort of proving ground or retribution. Bill enters Domino's apartment (uncaring to the filthy condition) and seems very nervous, talking about money right off hand. It's like he's never been with a hooker before, He won't even tell her what he wants her to do to him, and asks what she "recommends." Then a fee is discussed ($150) and they "get to it." The next scene is of Domino and Bill in Domino's room, where AFRICAN MASKS LINE THE WALLS. ("Stanley, you magnificent bastard!") After the episode with Marion, He goes to Domino and puts on a mask -- a nameless mask, but a mask that he thinks makes him a man; that he thinks proves a point; that he thinks will let him beat his true feelings. "You're in my hands," says Domino, and Bill is truly losing his grip on reality, and we see his slackening control. Bill seems to be the tool of the women in this film the only way he can really stay in control is when Alice is in control of him. When he starts to go out alone, that's when he gets it in the keister. After a very sweet kiss that Bill both enjoyed and was terrified of, his phone rings (saved by the bell) Alice has called wondering when he will ever get home. The timing of the call is as if some part of Alice is so connected to Bill she unconsciously new something was amiss. In the foreground we se a book, introduction to sociology. (Stanley you fucking genius) He says he is still visiting the grieving Nathansons. . .ah hah!? Perhaps he is. . . sex with no love might as well be sex with a corpse. After the call (connection with Alice) Bill is snapped back and does not continue the affair with Domino. Bill pays the Domino even though they didn’t FUCK. Domino sees Bill as a honorable kind man who loves his wife a better man than most she ever meets. Fidelio. (Loyalty, faithfullness, reliability, trustworthy, dependable, devotion, commitment) On his way home, Bill just "happens" to wind up in the freakin' Village, and wanders into the Sonata Café, where his ol' pal Nick Nightingale is tickling the ivories in a pretty banal jazz band. Well the Sonata Café turns out to be the sort of lurking place of secrets in this film, and the place is simply covered in RED RED RED, symbolic of sex and sexual secrets in the world of EYES WIDE SHUT, and the café and Somerton are drowning in it. Bill enters and is shown to a table, (and who's sitting at a table behind him STANLEY KUBRICK! That's right, a blatant cameo in his own film for the first time ever in this his most exhibitionist film). Bill and Nick shoot the breeze about a "mysterious gig.” "I play blindfolded," Nick says. So then comes the word: Fidelio. An opera by Beethoven, yes. But Bill knows it means "fidelity." He's a doctor. And yet he says "WHAT IS THAT?" Ha! Brilliant. Bill has no idea about fidelity. He doesn't know the difference between his wife's cheating mind and his cheating hands. His eyes are wide shut. (Stanley you fucken magnificent bastard) ACT TWO Secrets of the Rainbow Triggered by his wife's admittance that she was thinking of another man for complete physical reasons, and he goes seeking the same sort of attraction, but never really finds it. Somehow he's always blocked from it (phones, other people, etc.) Armed with the address and password to a mysterious party that promises more unknown secret pleasures Bill leaves the Devil, I mean, Nick, Bill goes to the "Rainbow" costume shop, ("Want to go where the rainbow ends?" ring a bell?) and rents out a costume, but not until after a really frigging bizarre scene involving a really cute chick (the shop owner's daughter) in her drawers giving the ol' "Who's yer Father" to two oriental guys wearing nothing but speedos and wigs. It's actually pretty funny and rather reminiscent of Lolita, as the girl makes a deliberately inaudible pass at Bill, and you just know he's buying it. Anyhow, the costume shop is blood red, and I don't need to say why. Another brick on Bill's cobblestone road to misery. Interestingly, when Bill asks for a "black tux, a black cloak, and a mask," Mr. Milich says "oh, wouldn't you rather be a clown, or a pirate, or an officer?" I guess explaining that would be a bit condescending now wouldn’t it. A Fuck Palace Called Somerton. Bill's taxi drives out to the countryside to the gates of Somerton, a castle like symbol of aristocracy with all kinds of guards and valets. He pays the cabbie (who's wearing a RED shirt) the fare and promises him $100 more if he waits at the gate for him. The cabbie concedes and Bill steps out, delivers the password to the valets, and they take him to the house in a RED SUV. Bald Guards representing the unics of Arab harems guard the doorways through out the film. Red carpets everywhere, and even the walls seem to emit a deep red glow. Bill straps on his mask and the final cards have been laid. Now he's drifted far, far away from the sanctity (or, at least, trust) of marriage. He's full of self-denial and doubt, and it's just a big metaphor for all the lies he tells his wife. (Even when he told her "I've never lied to you. . ." well, we know how men are.) Bill's then led into the ballroom where the ritual takes place. The women in the circle seem to be wearing masks that (in at least some cases) reflect Egyptian deities or motifs, and the music that plays throughout is reminiscent of a wicked Georgian Chant, making for a real creepy scene. The red guy in the middle, of course, is the symbol of all that is destroying Bill. Depravity dressed up like decadence. The true essence of the party isn't the sex, it's more the incredible nothingness that lies within the sex. It's completely meaningless and is the kind of stuff that is referred to as "fucking," and, to Bill's credit, when he gets kicked out I think it's for a good reason: he cares too much about the passion of lovemaking to exist within the party. Bill is recognized by someone at the party, a masked man on the balcony, who we never realize the identity of, and I suppose could be Ziegler, but it's pretty nebulous. The man gives Bill a knowing nod that Bill returns. Well, after the ritual, a woman with a big feathered mask who also recognizes Bill warns him of all the bad stuff that can happen to the both of them if Bill doesn’t leave. She's then pulled away by someone else, a man wearing a Napoleon mask. Now, Kubrick used to idolize Napoleon because Napoleon had a Kubrick complex. . .or maybe it was the other way around. So I guess this guy is probably some impotent guy trying to give it another shot with the Feather Girl, whom I'm going to refer to as Mandy because we all know it's the junkie girl from Ziegler's WC. (Tom Cruise is pretty short, and perhaps the Napoleon's relationship with Josephine might be a little representative of our favorite couple in Kubrickland. We constantly see Alice (and women in general) dominating over Bill). Then Bill walks through the scene, which is bleeding red and filled with the old Ultra sexual orgy, a bit of the old in out in out. (To symbolize the emptiness of sex without love Kubrick left out the moaning sounds to great effect). Bill is met by another striking masked beauty who wants to play with Bill, when Mandy comes back. She makes with more of the "you're in serious danger, you shouldn't be here" talk, while "Strangers in the Night" wafts up from the party below. Quite humorous. He then asks Mandy, "Let me see your face." "No," she says, indicating that it is forbidden. Soon Bill is lured away when another bald man asks if Bill is the man with the taxi waiting, to which Bill says "yes." "Well, sir, your driver is waiting at the door, he has an urgent message for you." Bill follows the man, who leads him to the circle, where the rest of the guests surround the seated Leader (the red guy), who is flanked by two guards wearing purple robes. (Then come the lonely notes of the Musica Ricercata II by Ligeti, the important and yet under appreciated Italian composer. The notes bounce off one another in a baroque and devastating dance of death, battling each other until they explode in a succession of rolling octaves. This is a very important marker in the film. Much like Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra in 2001, the theme music means something more than it does in most films. Kubrick was more than a filmmaker, he was a composer as well). "Please come forward," says the leader, in a snide British accent. "What is the password?" he asks. "Fidelio," says Bill. There is a murmur amongst the crowd. The Leader chuckles. "Yes, that is the password. . .for admittance. What is the password. . .for the house?" Bill ponders. "I. . .I seem to. . .to have forgotten it." Murmur from the crowd as the piano notes tolls for thee. "You will kindly remove your mask." Bill follows the instructions, exposing a face of shame. Bill is then asked to remove his clothes, and all sorts of possibilities fly through our minds -- any number of humiliating games or terrible tortures are imagined. Suddenly, a voice, and the camera zeroes in on Mandy, standing on a balcony. "STOP! Leave him alone!" She goes on to "redeem" Bill by offering herself in his stead, and she is taken away. The Leader agrees to release Bill, but warns him: "If you reveal this, there will be dire consequences for you and your family. Remember: when a promise has been made, there is no turning back." The scene is a comic opera about the games the elite play with sex, life & death. Mandy warns Bill that he is in great danger of being exposed -- perhaps Bill's greatest fear. He fears the exposition that he, in some way, does not satisfy his wife's needs, and fears the exposition of his great jealousy. "I'm not the jealous type," he says, but we all know he is. Then Bill is taken away and his fidelity is questioned. This seems to say "fidelity is more than a word. It is a concept which is more than simply a password. Just because you can say I will be faithful does not give you access." This seems contradictory, in that fidelity seems the antithesis of this place, but it is a piece of bitter irony that Bill must understand. The irony is that these people, the whores and the backstabbers, teach Bill something about fidelity. Fidelity is not the password, Bill. It's something that you can't gather yet. Then Bill removes his mask, as if to say, "Here I am. I am weak. Strike me down." Yet, this strikingly (and I can hear Kubrick giggling below) feministic film saves Bill via the "weaker" sex. This whore, this corpse, even, will give herself over for a man who she knows saved her life and treated her with respect. Perhaps that is the only act of love in the film. Then the Leader gives Bill a bit of advice, if not a pretty accurate horoscope: if you tell anyone about this, it means hell for your family. Indeed we see that when he confesses his secrets to Alice, things turn shaky and terrible. The Leader's note about promises is pretty weighty, too, as if to stress the "till death do us part" thing. Stick-in-the-mud. So now Bill is expelled from the dreamworld of meaningless screwing and excessive wealth, and forced back into the real world where he has to deal with his real problems. Alice has a dream. Bill arrives home to an eerily quiet of an early morning apartment,. Maybe the only man that is asleep is the one who thinks he is awake. Wide awake. Bill hides his costume, locks it away, and goes to the bedroom, where Alice makes little noises in her sleep, and then comes with more of her insane, mocking laughter which she taunted Bill with in the pot scene. Bill wakes her up and she calls the dream" the worst nightmare [she's] ever had. (Alice had a dream, ring a bell?) It was so weird." She tells Bill that they were in a deserted city and they were naked. She was scared and felt ashamed at her nudity. She was angry at Bill because she thought that it was his fault. He ran away to find clothes for them, but when he left, Alice began to feel better that he was gone. The next thing she knew, she was lying naked in a garden, when a man came out from the surrounding woods. It was the Naval Officer. He began to stare at her and laugh. "It's only a dream," Bill says. The Naval Officer began kissing Alice and then they began "fucking," as she put it, "and then there were people all around us, and they were all fucking." Then she tells Bill that she "fucked so many men. . ." and she knew Bill could see her, and she wanted to make fun of him, so she laughed as loud as she could. By this point Alice is completely drained and puffy, and she grabs Bill and embraces him, though he has a completely brooding and almost disgusted face on. It seems to be a reflection (yuk yuk) of the mirror scene from the beginning, in which Alice was the one who wasn't feeling the passion her husband felt for her, and she received his emotion as she glared at herself in the mirror. The deserted city represents how often Bill leaves Alice alone. The nudity is exposure to each other, the conversation from the beginning, perhaps, in which they laid their souls bare.. It's always called "fucking" with the Officer. And then she imagined a world of people "fucking," ironically the world Bill just escaped from, and then she laughs at Bill's simplicity and shame. And again the almost psychic connection between Alice’s dream and Bill’s recent real? World oddesy. Kubrick named his characters Bill and Alice for good reason. How many Bills and Alice’s are there in the United States? Bill pays the bill to get admittance, Alice dreams through the looking Glass. ACT THREE The Removal of Masks. Looking for answers a return to Nightingale, The rainbow & Somerton. Act three begins with Bill's searching for the clues behind what happened the previous night. He goes to the Sonata, which is closed, and then finds out (using his "doctor's privilege") from a waitress at a greasy spoon next door, (the "Gillespe Café," if that means anything to anyone) that Nick had been staying at a hotel. . .the name of which I am uncertain. Anyway, Bill travels to said hotel and approaches the desk, topped with a bouquet of RED flowers. Ahem. The clerk is a pretty blatantly gay guy (great performance,) who removes Bill's clothes with his eyes and tells Bill that Nick left with two brutish looking fellows who must have roughed him up, what with the big shiner on his mug, and they said all of his mail would be picked up by someone "authorized to do so." This is a pretty good scene as Bill is oblivious to the clerk's obvious come-ons, Just more sexual confusion for your edification. (Stanley you fucking genius). Bill returns to the Rainbow in an even weirder scene than the previous one there, (though there wasn't a Huggy Bear wig this time) and it's beautiful when Milich's daughter flutters out of the blood red back room and sings "Hello!" to Bill, innocent as can be. Our Japanese friends from last night enter and talk about the deal they struck up with Milich, and Milich offers his daughter for Bill's needs. It's interesting to think of what Milich must assume about Bill: he knows where Bill went the previous night; he knows Bill is willing to spend lots of money. The idea that a father would sell his very young daughter for prostitution right in front of her can no longer shock or satisfy Bill. Another note -- with all of his agreed fees, Bill pays a whopping $375 dollars for one night's rental of the costume, which shows more of the relationship money has to sex in this movie -- the wealthy at their parties engaging in their festivities, the fees Bill pays to get there. It's man's corruption of nature on a very subtle level. From the hurled femur and nuclear devices and homicidal computers of 2001 to the mechanizing process of the Marines in Full Metal Jacket, Kubrick has loved showing man's horrid domination over nature, but never has it been so beautifully subtle. Back to Somerton. Home Sweet Home. Next we find Bill returning to Somerton -- in obvious disdain of the Leader's instructions and warnings. (Ligeti comes pounding through again). The camera soon seems transfixed on something that is almost bizarre -- the security camera that sits atop the gate. Ligeti's music is really stinging away here, and it seems that we should feel some sort of trepidation from this scene. The security camera slowly fixes itself on. . .not on Bill. . .but. . .holy shit. . .on us. The camera is on us. What's going on? (I stood up in the theater and yelled, “Kubrick! Stop this!” The woman sitting behind me threw something very very hard at my head at this point, so I pulled my pants up & sat down, but at least I realized that Kubrick was playing a dirty trick on his audience). As a Rolls rolls up, and an old man steps out, handing a letter through the gate to Bill. Or to us? It warns Bill to stay away from the house, to stop investigating the whole thing. Or should we stop peering into Bill's soul like this? No way. Bill goes home later that evening, where Alice and Helena do math problems together, over Christmas break, for some reason. Alice plays "mommy" here, and Bill sits and watches her act with the words "I was fucking so many men" resounding in his head. She smiles a devilish grin. Oh no, viewer. No one is innocent in Kubrickia. Not for one damn second. A Gift for Domino. The Stalking. The Corpse. Bill makes a late-night venture back to his office, where he sits in his chair desperately searching for some method to what he saw the previous night. Who was the woman? (Remember: at this point he didn't know it was Mandy) Where does he go now? How can he still prove he is a man? All the questions. "I love you I love you I love you I love you." A-ha! Bill picks up the receiver and punches a number slowly. A phone rings in a familiar hallway. It is Marion's apartment. Dr. Carl comes around a corner and answers it. "Hello?" Nothing. Bill is choked up and cannot say anything. Why? This is a really strange scene and it goes back to the whole "real Bill/fake Bill" thing from before. Is this the manifestation of Bill's confusion about his own identity? Bill seems to have forgotten that Carl was ever in the picture. Who is the real man here? All those routes exhausted, Bill decides to make a visit to Domino again, and enters her building through its very RED doors. He rings Domino's doorbell, but her roommate, Sally,(?) answers. She refers to him as "Bill? Bill from last night?" who was "so nice to Domino." Yeah, I guess I was, Bill seems to think. Then Bill starts undoing Sally's shirt in what seems to be his most proactive (and steamy) move yet. He's actually doing the work. Sally stops him this time, to tell him that Domino tested HIV positive. This strikes Bill as disturbing in the way that he's starting to see some reason to not cheat on his beloved -- he could die. He could have died if not for Alice's intervention. (Stanley you are a cruel and yet kind God indeed! ) Upon leaving the apartment, something starts happening that fills the audience with that old sense of anxiousness. . two piano notes. Bill looks across the street as he walks and a very large and completely bald (see?) man is shadowing him on the other side. The man keeps following him and when Bill's attempts at hailing a cab are thwarted, Bill goes to a newsstand. The man stops and stares at him from the street corner. Bill buys the New York Post, of all things, and the bald man simply walks away. This is probably the funniest part of the movie. Kubrick placed a little joke in here for all of his fans. What is it? Look hard. Look! Look at the headline on that paper. LUCKY TO BE ALIVE! it says! As Kubrick would say, yeah right. (In Kubrick's world life is a curse and we live in a world of shit, but the dead know only one thing…..) Bill reads an article in this paper that talks about a beauty queen, Amanda Curran, who overdosed on drugs and is in the hospital. Could it be? he thinks. He checks it out, only to find that she's dead. He goes and sees her corpse in the morgue, and the most interesting thing here is. . .well the man's a doctor, after all, and yet he seems so torn up over this (he's reserved, though.) Could it be that he realizes that this woman saved his life and he cost her hers? Probably. I could also hypothesize that the corpse he sees really doesn't differ from the way he viewed her before, except of the paleness. He gets really close to planting one on her, emotionally Bill is starting to fall apart. On his way out of the hospital, Bill gets a call from one of Ziegler's people who evidently asks him to come to Ziegler's casa grande for a chat. Sure, Bill says, I'm on my way. Ziegler reveals the power of Masks. Bill arrives and Victor Ziegler is at the red billiard table “just knocking some balls around” and they make small talk for a second and soon the conversation digresses to Victor's knowledge of Bill's activities the previous night and that day, (we realize he was the one in the mask that recognized and nodded to Bill). He tells Bill that he's in way over his head and that the whole thing was false, all the "woman as hero" act. This discussion occurs, of course, above Ziegler's rich RED pool table. Is that a portrait of Napoleon above the fireplace? Victor tells Bill that, in short, Mandy was just a hooker, not his savior, and that she wound up dead only because she was a junkie, just like Bill said she was back in the bathroom two nights ago. Bill is for some reason very convinced of all this. . .as if to say "Yes. . .no woman could save me!" and yet he doesn't want to believe that he's been played as a fool. "It was all a fake, a charade. People die all the time. You're a doctor, you know that." Victor tells him that he had Bill followed, that Nick was sent back to Seattle "where he's probably banging Mrs. Nick." Bill seems very distressed at all this, at all of his beliefs being broken. He thought he was involved in a big, interesting conspiracy of murder, intrigue, and depravity. Yet, Ziegler tells him, it was just a party that had been crashed, and then a big Broadway show for a bit of flair. Just a dream. Of course, if Ziegler's so sure of himself and of his manhood, where has his wife been since the first act? That's right, you forgot he had a wife, didn't you? Hmm. He's not one to be trusted. And yet Bill breaks down at all this information. Finale: The honesty of Dreams & Desire Bill comes home again, late in the dark hours, and finds his wife sleeping on royal purple sheets, with her arm resting on the figure next to her. It is a bodiless mask, laying where Bill's head should be, and yet Alice seems perfectly content. This destroys Bill emotionally: he realizes what he's done, he realizes all his errors, he realizes the difference between a dream and reality. His wife dreamed about another man, but Bill actually sought out sex; he put on a mask and he lived beneath its perverted skin and sacrificed a beautiful relationship. All the jealousy, the duplicity, the anger and spite had ruined everything. You happy, Bill? You win, he seems to say. Alice has her "man" now. Bill breaks into tears and, waking Alice up in an almost surreal scene (it's very realistic, though -- it really evokes those weird hallucinations that occur between eyes shut and eyes wide) tells her "I'll tell you everything, I'll tell you everything." The next shot is pretty interesting -- one of those Kubrickian "hippie head shots" and yet this time reserved for a woman -- it's almost like Nicholson's in The Shining. She looks pretty bad (for Nicole Kidman) -- she's obviously been up all night crying, and she's got plenty left -- a shaky hand holds a flaking cigarette in classic style, and she stares into the camera with a "How could you do this to me?" look. She says that Helena will be up soon, and that they had to take her Christmas shopping. "We promised her," she says. In the final scene, Helena leads Alice through a melee of consumeristic glory, an FAO Schwartz type toy store with huge stuffed animals everywhere and bubbles floating through the air. Bill trails meekly behind. Whenever Helena picks up a toy, Alice plasters on a fake smile and says "Oh, boy" or "maybe Santa will bring you that" or such drivel, and then turns to Bill and talks about what they will do. Interestingly, they pass a stack of board games called "THE MAGIC CIRCLE". . .do the math. Remember that game? Bill seemed to enjoy it. There is much that might be implied by this toy store -- are Alice and Bill living in a childish world of lies and games? Is their relationship only material?.. Could just be that Alice's final advice here makes it all a big board game. ". . .there's something we have to do as soon as possible." "What?" Bill says. "Fuck." The act or the dream the honesty of relationships and social interaction. I love it. A brilliant Kubrickian ending. The audience laugh in social unity and everyone applauds. Don't fool yourself! Nothing's ever all anybody's fault! Alice was to blame as well, but I think Kubrick was just trying to say "These are humans fucking each other up really royal horror show like. People are both the most evil thing on the planet and the most beautiful. We make decisions and hope we can stick it out." ->A Final Note on Symbolism. MASKS: the first time we see a mask, it's in Domino's apartment, during Bill's first real attempt at revenge or self-establishment. He straps one on really well here, changing from Dr. Meek to Dr. Hyde, almost, a slobbering pervert looking for some action. But we know that's not the real Bill, don't we? Of course the "orgy" scene is fraught with masks and it becomes an oblique vision of the real world -- an entire society built on masks. Is this Kubrick's view of the Hollywood he so despises? Who knows? Whatever he means by it, it's a beautiful and elaborate image. By the end, the film's references to masks have become so powerful that this seems to be a very controlling image and idea. Anyway, if masks weren't the primary image, Kubrick wouldn't have named the movie after them. Masks have eyes that are always wide open -- but they never see anything. RED: the traditional color for the Devil (though some would say black, and I believe there's plenty of that, too) and it is very prevalent throughout the film. It's especially present in those places that lead to Bill's downfall -- the Sonata, Somerton, Rainbow -- and it is embodied in the Leader, or Ringmaster, or whatever. Masque of the Red Death? CIRCLES: The whole circle thing. The circle plays a big part in the orgy scene, and we see it again in the toy store at the end. BALD MEN: scene of FMJ? The boys were getting their heads shaved, losing their ID. Milich complains that his hair is disappearing and all of the men at Somerton seem to be bald symbolic of men without dicks that guard harems. DEATH and CORPSES: This seems to be another controlling image, but the whole thing is very mysterious. In both cases we know little about the corpses Bill comes into contact with, but for some reason they both push Bill's swing and get him moving in some way. What is the fascination? What does Kubrick equate death to? Prostitution? Infidelity? Perhaps these corpses were the ultimate victims of their masks. . .Anyway, it all seems to follow Kubrick's idea that reality is fake and that dreams are real. In some cases. TRUTH v. LIES, ETC: there's a lot of dialectics that go on in this film. No one is totally evil, but no one is truly good here, except for Helena, but only because she doesn't know about the evils of the world. Even the heroes are hookers. But it goes beyond that. Kubrick puts forth a meditation on the nature of the truth -- everything's subjective, apparently, as Alice thinks that dreams don't really mean anything and Bill thinks they do -- but it's actually sort of vague as to who believes what. So what in God's name is Eyes Wide Shut about? -- in the final scene Bill and Alice agree that reality is not real and that dreams are not always just dreams. "We're awake now," Alice says, but the concept of being awake forever frightens her. Stanley you magnificent bastard. "How does anybody think of anything?"-Stanley Kubrick 1928-1999. -- 20/5/2000

Richard (eyeswidecrap@stupidmovie.com) wrote:
Why does everyone think this piece of crap was a masterpiece. The movie had no plot, made no sense, had no beginning or no ending. It was just a bunch of jibberish. My wife and I both were bored to tears throughout. If you idiots have to watch it 2 or 3 times to fill in all the blanks in the script, which there are many spots, then this movie isn't worth all the good reviews it has gotten on this page. This movie sucks and from the looks of the long reviews some of you have posted, you have way too much time on your hands!!! This movie was about 139 minutes to long in this reviewers opinion!!!!!!!!!! -- 4/24/2000

Sean O'Byrne (SpObyrne@aol.com) wrote:
One critic says, 'up'; the other says, 'down'. Result: inertia. Art criticism is a nonsense and should be abolished. Please stop these senseless reviews. -- 24th April, 2000

Eyes Squeezed shut (pwillard@iserv.net) wrote:
Last night I made the mistake of renting this film. one I'll never repeat. Aside from the sick attempt at sexual fantasy, this was an idiotic and virtually plotless movie. Then it ended on the same perplexing and ASSinine note it started with. Not worthy of Tom Cruise's Time. I hope that I can still view him in the same light.(no pun intended)His only saving grace was the fact that he was not seen totally naked.And i'm sitting in this room with four other individuals that totally concur. -- 05/05/00

Brad Henderson
I have waited my whole life for this film experience. No film has even come close to being this perfect, but Kubrick (The God Of Cinema) has certainly pulled off his finest piece of work yet. Eyes Wide Shut is Kubrick's most personal film, we find out alot more about this man than we have before. My score out of 10 11/10 Most films fail miserably compared to do this. -- 12/05/2000

Brad Henderson
I have waited my whole life for this film experience. No film has even come close to being this perfect, but Kubrick (The God Of Cinema) has certainly pulled off his finest piece of work yet. Eyes Wide Shut is Kubrick's most personal film, we find out alot more about this man than we have before. My score out of 10 11/10 Most films fail miserably compared to do this. -- 12/05/2000

the bear
beautiful --

fabian romero barba (faroba84@latinmail.com) wrote:

dr. strangelove (faroba84@latinmail.com) wrote:

Mike DeBow (m.debow@mindspring.com) wrote:
A difficult film, could we expect nothing less from Stanley? The Bosch-like "orgy" scene is not titillating in the least- the mouth is the most, and it is not in play. Thats the point- no intimacy, no fulfillment. Nick is great. Tom is also. EWS will become a "classic" in time. As with all his "unpopular" films-"Barry", "Shining"-it will take 4-5 years for the rep to turn. -- 5/17/00

Jonathan Rosenbaum
http://www.chireader.com/movies/archives/1999/0799/07239.html -- 20/5/00

Loren Van Buren (lorenkvb@quixnet.net) wrote:
I was slow to see "Eyes Wide Shut", largely because of the negativeness of the reviews indicating disappointing, slow development, etc. However, upon seeing it last night, I loved it ...feeling it was very much Kubrick- from the music to the easy (not slow) development of the plot. Always some mystery in his madness, but I thought it excellent. Also felt there was an element of David Lynch there. Looking forward to seeing it again. -- 5/24/00

David L. (imageidea@hotmail.com) wrote:
For a review you need to remember, to put into words what you saw... the magic you felt... how can I remember that ? Feelings are somehow out of simple meaning and a review way out of understanding... Eyes Wide Shut was Eyes Wide Shut when you saw it for the first time and afterwards it becomes a memory, a feeling, a magic trick... Eyes Wide Shut, as all the work of M. Kubrick are exceptionnal work of rememberance... So, what did you remember ? and how can you describe it ? -- 00-05-26

you suck --

Allan McBeal (amcbeal@hotmail.com) wrote:
It is a crime that this movie has only grosed 56 million dollars here in the United States. People are dissapointed with the movie because it is not at all erotic. There is sex and nudity a'plenty but I never thought it was sexy. The sex is not highlighted- It is treated like breathing. Sex is vagrant and "there". And it is not a sex movie. It is a movie about sex. Watch a few of Kubricks other films before seeing this and you will appreicate it ever so much more. I loved it. -- 6/1/Y2k

Jose R. Sanchez (jrsanchez@infosel.net.mx) wrote:
Just behind "SAVING PRIVATE RYAN" and "PULP FICTION" (Not necessarily this order),Stanley Kubrick´s "EYES WIDE SHUT" was the best film of the 90´s. A perfect mixture of sex thriller,beautiful photography,brilliant acting,and it can´t be miss in any Kubrick film,a carefully composed and chosen score.Kubrick again entering on the fields of the complexities of human behaviour,subject always portrayed excellent in every one of his Films.I saw this film twice,the first one in Tucson,AZ an edited version avoiding a NC-17 rating,the second one in Mexico, the unedited version .It wouldn´t be necessary to do that because other infamous films are near Soft-porn and receive R-ratings,and this for the gothic-house ball and the not very explicit sex scenes had to be digitally covered.The Academy Awards wrongfully again ignoring this influential Director.I hoped that EWS receive at least 4 Nominations:Best Film,Best Actor(Cruise),Best Actress(Kidman),and best Photography,and received Zero. Extemely Too bad,that Kubrick will not be withs us anymore,to continuing making these Revolutionary and Thought-Provoking Films.May rest in Peace. -- 06/27/2000

saintkevin (kphilbi1@nycap.rr.com) wrote:
I thought that EWS was a very funny comedy that only a fellow like Kubrick could pull off. As a story told from an arrogant doctor's POV, it clicked and clicked well. -- 7/25/2000

I just saw EWS last night for the first time on cable, and I consider myself to have a pretty high level of competence. Although I know I need to see the movie a few more times and possibly read the book, I really could not understand where the movie was actually supposed to be going. Nearly every story, every life, every kiss, every sexual interaction, every road, every college proffessor's grading system begins with low - the laying of the foundation, the subtle explanations to give you an inkling of how to interpret future events. Then there comes the build up to the climax, the exitement, the tension, the top of the hill. And shortly there after, there is the come down, the finality, the end. From the end, you take all you have seen, apply it to what you know about what happened and draw your own conclusions. The basis of every thing in life is the "bell curve". There has to be some flow, some dynamic, some sort of ups and downs. This story line was static, flacid, a stagnant, small pond where nothing can grow. It had the potential to be so much more, if only a few more details would have been added. I think I will read the book before I see it again. -- 08-07-00

Andrew (acn@afts.com.au) wrote:
Angie, have you considered how dreams work? They don't always follow your bell curve analogy (which is a neat image in itself and certainly true of most "dramatic" progressions). Dreams are often very linear, with no connective logic or dramatic resolution within themselves, but sometimes with a disturbing tendency to repeat and ever so slightly change. Perhaps EWS should be considered a collection of dreams, but whose? Bill's? Alice's? Yours? Ahh, there's a question! But consider also the dramatic progression (a classic Kubrick trademark): ACT 1 - the Party and the setting up of the mystery. Who is Mandy? Who is Nick? Who are the girls playing with Bill? Who is Alice, really? ACT 2 - the catharsis of Alice's revelation of her fantasy. Now who is dreaming who? ACT 3 - Bill's endless journey into night, progressing from one dream state to the next, and culminating in the masked ball. Who's dream is this? Alice's? Bill's? ACT 4 - revisiting all of the players from the earlier dream journey. A classic dream state - have you ever had cyclic dreams, where the same event looks like starting over, but then moves on to something different. ACT 5 - the "resolution" of the mystery that opened in ACT 1. That is if you believe a word Zeigler says, and you believe the girls are the same, and from the same dream. Then Bill goes back to Alice - her dream is also resolving itself. But was Bill at the ball in Alice's dream? or was Alice at the ball in Bill's dream? Remember the mask on the pillow - who is dreaming who? Finally, the CODA, where Alice and Bill resolve their future. But do they? Alice doesn't want to commit that long. Perhaps she wants to keep dreaming. I think Kubrick has very cleverly challenged all of the traditional dramatic and film constructs, and has tapped into a deeper subconscious layer of understanding and representation. With 2001 A Space Odyssey, he challenged forever how we see films, and invented a new way of dramatic progression. Think of the greatest edit in film history (across 4 million years of evolution). Perhaps with Eyes Wide Shut he has done it again, by studying how dreams work, and showing how they present themselves to the deeper self. -- 11 Aug 2000

Lisa Purnell (Lisaa1409@aol.com) wrote:
I liked the acting in the movie, but the storyline was too far out there. The ending was a disapointment. -- 08/30/00

I just want to say that EWS is the best movie I have ever wathed. It concerns love,sex and fidelity in marriage.It is the best in every category.And if it was not censored like that, it would be acclaimed as one of the greatest movies of the decade in most of the critics notion.And if kubrick had not died,he would make it a really supreme film. -- SEPT/17/2000

Erik North
A truly complex sexual odyssey and a worthy last movie from a genius. "Eyes Wide Shut", like all of Kubrick's movies, MUST be seen multiple times for the viewer to appreciate it. -- November 25, 2000

George Albertina Jr. (gwajr66@hotmail.com) wrote:
Simply stated: The Best film of the 1990's !!! The master finished on a giant high note !! -- 11/30/2000

LS (lsirois@lendx.com) wrote:
I was so disappointed with this film that the best thing I have to say is: it did provoke discussion. Sad to see Kubrick's last film was such a failure. -- 1/15/01

Lord Shier (fullmetalshier@yahoo.ca) wrote:
This film lingers in the mind's eye for a long time after the first viewing. I must admit that before release I was not too keen on the subject matter. I should have known that in the hands of the Grand Master the film would rise above anything released in the last DECADE. Surreal bliss of herculean proportions. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is a disgrace to "excellence in film"- something which they avoid at all costs. Not giving Kubrick awards for 2001, Clockwork, Barry Lyndon & Eyes for direction defies all logic. Any serious film student or buff should dismiss the Oscars as nothing more than a popularity contest. Stanley Kubrick was/is the epitome of excellence in film, and he was ignored at every turn by this sickening kangaroo court known as AMPAS. With every passing year I see unworthy nominees & winners pile up. Eyes Wide Shut didn't receive ONE nomination-correct? Absolutely unforgivable. I'm going on record- "THE OSCARS MEAN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING". -- 16 Feb. 2001

Scar Rumble
Firstly, of course, this film is GOOD. It's themes are very usual, trust in relationship, te way both sides try to control everything the other does - even thinks - and the basic horror of finding out that things don't work as they "should". The film is full of passion, odd Kubrickian humor and situations only possible in dreams. Technically brilliant film loses a dose of "drive" in the last forty minutes or so, but the ending, very Kubrickian and Un-Kubrickian in the same time, saves a lot. Wonderful work, but not Kubrick's finest. -- 21.2.-01

The truth

Edward Wong Enya (biiii@aicom.com) wrote:
There are ample evidences that Kubrick deliberately made this film as detached from our simplistic view of life as 2001: A Space Odyssey is. The hair of some actresses change in split seconds, for example. There is an incredible amount of informations presented subliminally (paintings, masks, whispers, secondary events)--so much that it is impossible to analyse everything. Stanley Kubrick and his incredibly lucky crew articulated a non-sensical experience that will bewilder audience for decades to come. And I dare to promise with the worth of my life that Eyes Wide Shut is the most powerful achievement in the entire history of art for emulating something more real than reality. Nothing else came close. -- March 9, 2001

Herron Boltzmann
97% Excellent -- 24th March 2001

Marcelo Ferreira (mr.magoo@_hotmail.com) wrote:
utlutflotgudf -- 10/04/2001