Eyes Wide Shut

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(1999) ★★★

Sky Movies Select: Friday 1 January, 12.00am

Manhattan doctor Tom Cruise roams the streets looking for sexual adventure after his wife Nicole Kidman confesses to fantasising about a man she once saw in a restaurant. His nocturnal odyssey turns into an unnerving experience in guilty lust and continual frustration, and he returns home chastened. Stanley Kubrick’s final film is a fascinating, ponderous fantasia of sexual obsession which takes its own sweet time in reaching a climactic grace note.

It’s edgily amusing although not outright funny in the manner of Martin Scorsese’s superficially similar After Hours, though there’s no doubting that the deliberate pacing achieves a dreamlike state that eerily reflects Cruise’s disturbed state of mind. But then so does Joceyln Pook’s spooky music, in just a handful of jarring piano chords. Cruise is good, in an unflattering role. Complacent and cocksure at the beginning, a blubbering wreck by the end. Unable to deal with his wife baring her soul to him, he searches for ways to get back at her.

Sins of the mind weigh heavy and, even though he hasn’t actually done anything, he begs her forgiveness. The most troubling aspect of this sinister and perplexing film is the script, credited to Kubrick and Fredric Raphael. The dialogue is banal and repetitious, and each scene is granted the same gravitas, whether or not it is required. Visually, the film is more interesting though by no means Kubrick’s best work.

The opening ballroom scene recalls the ghostly lighting of The Shining and the nighttime driving scenes are reminiscent of the Droogs’ forays into the countryside in A Clockwork Orange. Arresting as the mansion house masked orgy undeniably is, there’s ultimately nothing to rival the sumptuous imagery of Barry Lyndon. In terms of inertia, comic oddity and sheer length, that is the Kubrick film which Eyes Wide Shut most closely resembles. Kubrick died at his home in Hertfordshire, in March 1999, age 70. The UK media often described him as a recluse, because he wasn’t interested in giving them interviews.

Certificate: 18
Duration: 152min

IMDB – Eyes Wide Shut

TMDB – Eyes Wide Shut

Rotten Tomatoes – Eyes Wide Shut

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Select Thursday, 7 January at 10:00PM