Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – No Escape From Reality

“Eyes Wide Shut” became one of Stanley Kubrick’s best relics as the director’s last film. After a legendary long shoot, Stanley Kubrick died just four days after presenting Warner Bros. His friends and family, as well as the cast and crew, claimed that Kubrick’s death was completely unexpected. They never realized that he had been sick for a long time since making the film. A lot of people say that this is the ordinary work of Kubrick. However, adapting the erotica theme with too much the orgy and surreal scene is not an easy thing. Remembering this was also a film starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman when they were still married.

The movie is about a doctor named William Harford went through a misadventure full of mystery in one night. It starts with a classic wave of “Suite for Variety Orchestra” by Shostakovich. Furthermore, the film shows the atmosphere of the room as long as the husband and wife get ready to attend a party invitation. William Hartford or Bill is a doctor who is quite popular in his circles. He lives with his wife, Alice Hartford, and his only daughter, Helena.

The couple attended Sydney Pollack as Victor Ziegler’s party, one of Bill’s wealthy patients. In American-style meetings, the two met in a strange way; making them finally suspect each other. In addition, Bill also met his college old friend, Todd Field as Nick Nightingale, who is now a jazz pianist. The party turned out to be an initial trigger for this film. The suspicion between Bill and Alice continues when debate occurs in Harford’s room while smoking marijuana. Alice asks what Bill did with the two women who approached him and took time if he wanted to have sex with both of them. Bill also asked about Alice’s closeness with a middle-aged man who danced with him. It was clear he was trying to tease Alice.

After the debate, Alice reveals a wild experience and fantasy, made Bill dizzier. Recognition of his wife who had been considered loyal and loves him turned out to find a new way. This confession made Bill become irrational and entered into a situation he often associated with his wife’s confession. On a long night, he decided to start his nightmare adventure.

“Eyes Wide Shot” is one of the films included the Guinness World Record as the longest time shooting film. Stanley Kubrick, the perfectionist, presents an art show. In addition to rewriting directly on the script, he also produces many shots repeatedly. Cruise and Kidman also seem exhausted when they dialogue with each other. Strangely, I never thought that the combination of Kubrick and Cruise, in my opinion, wasn’t a unique combination. In fact, I see it more strange but funny.

Besides Kubrick, Frederic Raphael also helped in the work on the screenplay. They adapted this story from a novella entitled “Traumnovelle” written by Arthur Schnitzler in 1926. They called this adaptation an inspiration; due to many changes and adjustments they make. Larry Smith’s cinematographer displays a pure, original color from each scene. Without the addition of visual effects or exaggerated lighting, this film has a slightly dark but contrasting feel. Christmas tree lights, the background, the set, like watching a surreal real dream. Jocelyn Pook’s score adds to the dramatization of the atmospheric horror of this film. The same unpleasant piano sound repeatedly adds the effect of terror on the main character. The sex orgy as the worship ritual scene only dominated by piano and visual.

Yes, people often compare it with another magnum opus such as “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Full Metal Jacket” or other Kubrick’s works. Apart from including the Guinness World Record, the movie has a very, very slow pace. The slow tempo and really a weird ending don’t make this film a bit strange; unless you just want to see the orgy or Kidman and Cruise making love. This film is indeed familiar with scenes that “annoy” or almost all Kubrick films like that.

While the title has a variety of meanings, “Eyes Wide Shut” could be interpreted as sexual fantasy and rebellion against the modern superego normality pair. Another theory says that the movie is about a wild fantasy everyone always has when we close our eyes. Like the ritual scene, a dream when Cruise’s Bill adventures while he is satisfying his lust. The next day, all disappeared from the people he met until the ritual. Sexuality has space, never taboo to be explored by personal images. Our fantasy also comes from someone we meet or whatever it is. Orgy and the ritual scene are two sexual objects. They are the dream of the deepest desire by Bill and Alice. Alice also dreamed she was surrounded by many men who tried to rape her.

Or, it could be, “Eyes Wide Shut” is a sexual exploration of someone’s fetish whether it is fetish to hair, clothing, things, incest, or even pedophilia. However, the ethics of this normality of fantasy alone caused sexuality to never occur. Lust tempered between two detained people like Cruise who tried to be professional as a doctor and patients. On the most basic side, they all seemed to be pulled or lured out when normality sank deep in the sea.

In addition to a strange yet powerful combination between Kubrick and Cruise, Tom Cruise is the center of the story as the lonely man who has wild fantasy. Cruise and Kidman presented both couples as charming yet sexy characters. The movie also ends with a simple word directly emphasized by Kidman herself. After Kidman said the word, the end credit appeared. “Eyes Wide Shut” is one of the conventional films from Stanley Kubrick and was a terrific thriller movie. Kubrick is a genius, even understanding his films takes time to be able to explore what he really wants to convey. This idealism became this film. This movie has a full of nude, sex, concise and artistic.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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