The last of Stanley Kubrick‘s films, Eyes Wide Shut is an epic two hours and thirty-eight minutes long. When starting the movie, I hadn’t realized just what I was in for, however, I was willing to stick it out for one of my favorite directors. What I also didn’t realize was that this was one of the first digitally filmed movies – and perhaps it is just me but the fuzzy quality of digital really irks me. Perhaps that was his intention – the subject matter isn’t beautiful, nor is the lifestyle.
The film follows Bill (Cruise), a New York City doctor, who is affronted and confused when he hears his wife’s (Kidman) story about a man with whom she fantasized about and felt like she could leave everything – her life with Bill, and their daughter – for him. Bill, after receiving a call about a patient who died, rushes over and begins this wild sexual adventure through New York’s underbelly.
There is excessive nudity and over-the-top sex romps at a creepy orgy, a young girl turned prostitute by her father, and Bill is carried through all of this with the thoughts of his wife having sex with this officer. The film plays with the idea of the actualization of sexual desire and the internalized sexual desire. Bill journeys through the actualization and finds out that he doesn’t want any part of it. Alice dreams about her having sex with untold numbers of men and is haunted by it, however during the dream is reveling in the fact that Bill is there to witness it.
As it is with most of Stanley Kubrick’s films, this isn’t something you should just throw yourself at. This film needs time to digest and swirl around in your mind. It is perfectly timed – it allows for your meditation. The only thing I found hard to digest is the acting. It seemed very melodramatic and the writing – though at times extremely well done – fell flat in other respects. I suppose that has more to do with how the actors portrayed the characters. Both Cruise and Kidman seemed a little too enthusiastic to play these parts and at times it felt like I was watching a play rather than a movie.