Eyes Wide Shut

Reviewed By 13
Posted 09/18/99 01:57:14

"Kubrick's attack on entrenched beliefs that most won't swallow."
5 stars (Awesome)

Possibly the most talked about film of 99, and definitely one of the most contentious. What is there to say that has no already been said? From Kubrick's masterful and elegant swan song, to an utter pile of crap, there is not much room to add something new to the ever expanding mountain of written material on this film. I say this only to justify the fact that I am yet another writer choosing to write on this film...

Eyes Wide Shut, is quite possibly the film of the 90's, not in the way that Fatal Attraction was in the 80's but rather, this film hints at where we will be heading cinematically and socially post millenium hysteria. It is one of the few films which counter the Hollywood perpetuated myth of "someone for everyone" and "love will conquer all" plot staple. It is perhaps one of the most honest films ever made about people and human interaction. And it is possibly this honesty that is to be blamed for the fact that the film has received such polarized reviews. (I have yet to read a middle of the range review on this film!)

On the back of one of the biographies on Kubrick now available there is quote by Stephen King most likely in regards to The Shining, which reads, "...I think he (Kubrick) really wants to hurt people with this film." I think that this statement, or a variant on it, can and is quite aptly applied to Eyes Wide Shut. As The Shining shocked, frightened and hurt us, it also intrigued us, and we marvelled at it's splendor, this is also most definitely true of Eyes Wide Shut. It paints with the tools of the cinema a reality that is equally as realistic as it is dream-like. Sorry, that is something that has already been said elsewhere.

However more importantly than it's technical mastery, or rather I should say as a result of the synergy of the elements of technical mastery we are presented with the psychosis, which plagues Dr Harford (Tom Cruise). Dr Harford represents the audience's point-of-view in many ways in this film. The psychosis from which he/we suffers is enslavement to the marriage/love myth which Kubrick's begins to crumble almost as the film begins.

This then begs the question: If not for a belief in this myth, what then? Well, you'll have to go and see the film ... again if you have to, to work that one out.

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