Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Hot damn Stanley, you really do love showing boobies.

Director Stanley Kubrick’s final film dishes up a chillingly distant examination of carnal desire and obsession ignited by an argument over fidelity between Dr. Bill Hartford (Tom Cruise) and his wife (Nicole Kidman), which sends the physician reeling into the Manhattan night. He soon finds himself in a surreal succession of sexually charged encounters, capped off by a clandestine visit to an upper-crust orgy.

Writer/Producer/Director Stanley Kubrick is a genius. The films he has made in his life, are so insane, but yet so perfect in so many ways. This was sadly his last, and he went out with a bang.

The star of this film is Kubrick himself. His direction is practically flawless. From the lighting, to the camera angles, to the music, to the tone, almost everything feels perfect. This is a very dark, and disturbing movie, and Kubrick builds up the suspense with every second he gets. Some will complain saying how it’s so long, and un-interesting. But for me that wasn’t the case at all, I was more glued in as the film kept trudging along, as slow as it did. There are some really, really tense scenes, and as usual, Kubrick keeps that suspense going through almost every scene has here. The scenes with the cult, are probably the freakiest things I have seen on film in quite some time. The music, the costumes, the lighting, and the overall mood just pulls you in, and you can’t get out so eventually you just fall victim to what is the mind of Stanley Kubrick.

Throughout the film, you feel as if your almost in a dream. You have your reality, your bad dreams, your good dreams, and dreams that almost feel like real life. The whole film plays out like this, and you feel like your walking through a dream-like state with this film. But mainly, the film speaks louder on the study of the human psyche, and how our mind reacts to sex. We feel as if sex itself, is something we need, and we obsess over it. However, as we start to keep searching for more sex, we start to fall into more crimes, and lies, and then our life is practically made up and full of shameful things. This film touches on a lot of ideas about the mind, right when it comes to sex, but the film does pretty well in my opinion of sorting it all out in a reasonable, but psychological way.

My main strife with this film is that I do feel that towards the end there should have been more time devoted to one certain element to this film, and when it comes up, you can tell right away. It was also really disappointing to see some of Kubrick’s main sex scenes, undoubtedly censored. I mean I’m not a perve or anything, but this was the same guy about 30 years ago who showed me rape along to the tune of Singin’ In The Rain, or “heressssss Johnnny”. And to see his material, as sexual as it was, to be censored like it was, sort of took away from the film as a whole I think. When it comes to artistic ability, Stanley Kubrick was all about it showing that he will put whatever he wants on that screen, despite the MPAA, but for this last outing he gave in, and had his ish censored. Poor guy, wish it didn’t have to be like that.

Tom Cruise does a good job as he practically loses himself in this material, and is admirably subtle as he drowns in the film’s indulgences. Nicole Kidman is also very good even though not a lot of the film has her in it, the scenes with her are perfect, and shows that she really can act even with small amount of time given to her on screen. These two were married at the time when this film was completed, and released, and then not soon after they divorced. I guess this type of material really started to mess with their heads, and they couldn’t tell what was reality anymore. But they both have good chemistry in this, and not only is this a film that marks the end of an era, but also a film that marks the end of a marriage that started so bright, and ended so tragically. I guess all good things have to come to an end.

Consensus: Though it may be Kubrick’s last outing as director, Eyes Wide Shut still has some of his best direction, with key performances from Cruise and Kidman, and thought-provoking study on the sexual mind, but it’s just sad cause this was his last film, and with anybody, it’s always sad to see the last great work, of a great artist.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!!


  1. I remember seeing this in the cinema – the majority of the audience started getting squirmy about half way in, since nothing appeared to be happening, and the much-touted sex and nudity hadn’t been “hot” enough to warrant continued viewing. Myself, I was lost in the story, and didn’t care, but I can see how this didn’t jibe with audiences looking for quick titillation – the film is slow, it is dense, and it doesn’t always answer the questions you are asking: but it is undoubtedly the work of a mad, mad genius.

    Interestingly, I only watched this again the other day, so to read your review on it so soon after is a little creepy! Maybe we were watching it at the same time!

    • I watched this for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I will just say that I was totally involved in this story, and I can totally understand why not many people could handle this material. Thanks for checking up my man, glad you liked it!

  2. Hey Dan — Nice review, though admittedly I think you liked the film more than I did. I’ve yet to write a review of the film, maybe next or maybe not. You know how us reviewers are – always one film away from the next, looking in the rear-view, wondering what next masterwork is going to appear on the horizon. You make some solid points about this film but to be honest after all the hype and of course the untimely death of Mr. Kubrick, I felt like something was missing in the end. I know there was wide speculation that the film hadn’t actually been finished at the time of his death and that it was rushed willy-nilly together to hit the theaters as soon as possible so that the buzz didn’t wear off. I’m reminded of the whole Michael Jackson debacle – all the last minute efforts to capitalize on the stars untimely death, the movies and memorabilia. Shameful, awful is what it is.

    I thought I’d share a link to a nice write up from ew.com that you and your readers might find interesting. Covers a lot of ground. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,272431,00.html

    It was grand seeing Cruise and Kidman play off one another. I wish Cruise would return to meatier roles – I still find Born on the Fourth of July to be one of his best films but since he’s become an “action hero” we don’t get the opportunity to see him without the tights and super-human attributes.

    Been too long since I dropped by – cheers->

  3. Thanks for the review. Got me thinking…..

    I remember seeing this film in my early 20’s. An if I am totally honest I didn’t like it a bit. I remember really wanting to like it. I remember trying to make my self enjoy it. But at that time in my life I wanted a more direct source of enjoyment. More wham bam thank you ma’am.

    After reading your review I am now ready to try it again!! I am old and more mature with a wider understanding and love of film.

    Thanks for adding another to my re-watch list


  4. Saw this film for the first time on TV. Didn’t think I’d like it after some of the reviews I’d read but ended up loving it. I just think it’s a brilliantly composed masterpiece that rewards multiple viewing and a discerning audience.

  5. Great review! I LOVE Kubrick, and although this isn’t one of my personal favourites, it’s still a really phenomenal film. He was so good at building atmosphere and creating tension. This movie in particular has a really haunting, dreamlike feel…a lot of the praise that gets heaped on to Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, I’d rather see turned towards Eyes Wide Shut

    I also think this is up there as one of Cruise’s all time best performances, the other’s being Magnolia and Collateral. He really should play unlikable or villainous characters more often, as that’s when he usually does his best work.

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