Eyes Wide Shut Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2009
A slow-burning Kubrickian exploration of extramarital sexual desire and jealousy, full of some terrific symbolism that throws us together with the characters in a nightmarish odyssey highlighted by a formidable game of colors using blue and red to suggest menace and unconscious sex impulses.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2006
As far as final films go, is there really a better film that Kubrick could have his career end with (due to his death) than this? I don't really think so.

This is, like basically every Kubrick film, a challenging, beautiful, and haunting work of art. A ridiculous amount of shots are framed quite literally like you'd see done to a painting in a musuem. This sucker just oozes with craft. It would be a surprise if it didn't, really. I lost track of the number of long takes and tracking there were, but I was also absorbed when I tried to imagine how difficult some of them were to set up and execute, especially given Kubrick's perfectionism. For people who think this movie is only about gratituous nudity and sex, you are wrong, will be disappointed if you watch it solely for that reason. This is a long film that is deliberately (read: slowly) paced, with all of the sex and nudity being done in a very tasteful and artistic manner that also serves as an integral part of the plot and themes. And, just like his other films, this is a film loaded with symbolism, metaphors, and is open to a vast number of interpretations. The music was just phenomenal. It kind of surprised me that there would also be some slight similarities to John Carpenter's score for Halloween. The brief (but appropriate) use of a Chris Isaak song just brought a devious smile to my face, and the classical music that is used is just something that is to be expected- and it works flawlessly. The acting is also quite good (yes, even Cruise for those haters and mockers). I feel like anyone who works with Kubrick is capable of giving an excellent performance- no matter who they are.

Is this a perfect film? Well, based on my rating, and for a general audience, I say no. It is long, slow, and rather pretentious. Even though I raved about the music, I'll admit that the repetition of the piano notes can get a bit tedious and overbearing after a while, but at least it's only around in the second half. You need to be in the right frame of mind to watch it, and cannot do so passively. I spent most of the viewing time totally absorbed in it, but then got interrupted and found it hard to get back into, but that's a minor thing. It would probably help to view it at least twice (once again, like other Kubrick films), in order to get the most out of it. There's a lot to ponder over in this film, but the patient viewer will find themself greatly rewarded.
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2007
Yet another brilliant film directed by one of the best directors ever in Stanley Kubrick. It misses perfection by ever so little, but it is still a worthy film which features an eerie atmosphere, a jarring soundtrack, and some genuinely disturbing and creepy scenes. Although the nudity is indeed plentiful, in this movie it is made to serve an important purpose, which being if you dehumanize one of the closest things two humans can share with one another, then you turn human passions and desires into nothing more than revolting "practices" which almost nobody wants to take a part in. Definitely not for everyone, especially those that can handle a certain amount of sexual content, this is a very graphic movie which was originally rated NC-17 before being edited (the late Kubrick must have rolled over in his grave should he have known) to a hard R.
Super Reviewer
July 27, 2013
For Stanley Kubrick's last film, he crafts this unique psychological drama that is worth checking out due to its eccentric story. This would be a work that conflicted Kubrick as he thought the film was not good and was not satisfied with the finished product. Over time, Eyes Wide Shut would be better received and I quite liked the film myself, but felt that it wasn't up there as one of Kubrick's best. The cast are well chosen and deliver some truly engaging performances. This is not a flawless film, but it does boast a well crafted story that should please Stanley Kubrick fans. The film manages to be quite unique and it does boast some impressive performances. However, like I stated the film has some impressive visuals and effective direction that really makes this a standout feature. Eyes Wide Shut may not be the greatest film that Kubrick has made, but it definitely is a must watch for fans of the director. Even if it's not perfect, you can tell how much effort Stanley Kubrick put into this film. I really enjoyed the performance of the two leads and I felt that everyone brought something wonderful to the screen. Considering that this is Stanley Kubrick's final work, this is an accomplished movie that illustrates all the usual elements of a misunderstood Kubrick film. The film may not hold among his other, more excellent works such as 2001, A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon, but it nonetheless holds a place in his filmography as being yet another eccentric piece of work that deserves more praise than it has initially gotten. Eyes Wide Shut is a very good film, and one that is worth checking out.
Super Reviewer
January 22, 2011
My favorite Stanley Kubrick film.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2010
It's strange to think of a Kubrick film as underrated, but I find it fascinating how so many have dismissed Eyes Wide Shut during both its theatrical run and its subsequent life on video. Some theories have postulated that he had become so reclusive (he hadn't made a film since 1987's Full Metal Jacket and lived in exile in England), how could he possibly know anything about modern-day relationships, New York, etc.? Others have suggested that he had become so insular, cold and bitter (as if he were a teddy bear beforehand?) that he no longer had the ability to objectively analyze much of anything.

Yes, it was ms-marketed, and sure, Eyes Wide Shut may not be as profound as some of his masterworks, but it's still a pretty good film in its own right. At its core it's about the bonds of marriage and the challenge of achieving real intimacy. The sexual politics aside (which one can right an entire essay on), this film is one of the more penetrating (bad pun, I know) and creative exposes on the classic bored and wealthy upper-class trying to find true meaning in their lives. And let's not forget, this is Stanley Kubrick at the helm and he hadn't lost his touch: the compositions were spellbinding; the lighting both stylized and natural were endlessly intriguing and added so much to his character's development; his long shots and dissolves were staged with meticulous detail. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the show-stopping, eerily ritualistic upper crust orgy scene -- everything from the mood lighting, to the cold and unemotional mansion that hosted the event, to the cloaks and masks, to the invasive music is endlessly fascinating and surreal, and as good as anything Kubrick has ever done.

The criticisms, though, do persist. Some of pointed out that the film is cheaply sexually exploitative, that only the women are nude and they are nothing more than sexual objects. Well, yes, but the film is quite pointedly a trip through a fairly conventional man's sexual unconscious and necessarily told from a male point of view. None of these things should come as a surprise. Moreover, much like Steve McQueen's masterful study of sexual addiction, Shame, I found Eyes Wide Shut to be remarkably asexual. Sex is power, nothing less and nothing more. It's powerful in the way dreams can almost destroy a marriage, and it's powerful as a reinforcement of class stratification. As far as lead characters go, maybe Bill Hartford (Cruise) isn't complex as Humbert Humbert or Jack Torrance, but isn't that the point? Eyes Wide Shut isn't so much about one man's mental illness or psychotic breakdown, it's about how all of us -- our projections and insecurities manifested. To that end, Eyes Wide Shut is an effective swan song to Kubrick's llife and magnificent career.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2006
A well known film for many reasons, the cast, director and the sex, nude scenes. It's quite a simple story but deals with complex issues and emotions. Once it gets into the whole secret society stage it becomes unnerving and more of a thriller, or does it? You're left to make what of it you will which might bother some viewers. Very well shot, the score is simple but has great effect and with a talented cast. So definitely worth seeing and Nicole looks stunning as always.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2011
Now, here is a little odd film (then again, what film from Kubrick is not odd?). This being the great director's last film, has something of a tragic feel to it. Mainly due to the fact that we do not know if this is how Kubrick intended the film to be. When he died of a heart attack while in 1999, he was busy editing this film and adding the final touches. Now, Kubrick was a man who done literally everything himself in terms of the aspects of a film. The reason why was because people wanted to edit and change his vision for how his films should have been and, Kubrick being Kubrick, he refused to all that to happen. But, seeing as how he died three weeks before the premier, I have a feeling that this is close enough to what he wanted. Now, for my view of the film, I must say that this film was, at first, beyond long. Well, other then the running time being two hours and forty five minutes, it is a slow paced film that is meant to be played out as both an erotic daydream and nightmare. I will admit that, when I first tried to watch this film, I could not sit through it. Mostly because I was bored of this movie. But, sitting down and watching it a second time, it was a lot better plus it is just an original take on the 1920's novella Traumnovelle. So, with that in mind, this is a film that requires multiple viewings to get and like. Now, for the aspects. In terms of direction, Kubrick gave this film his all; taking from what he learned from all of his previous films and putting them together. He makes this film like any of his others: beautiful, confusing, but interesting nonetheless. The next thing would have to be the actors. Well, when you have mega actors like Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman along with Sydney Pollack, you basically have a winning team in terms of acting. And, in this film, it is just marvelous seeing them all give it their best. But, kudos to Kidman for her monologue she gives at the start of the film while being high on pot. In all the acting I have seen her in, that little bit was the best. Cruise gives his main performance as he usually does, but I do like how he becomes confuse by his own sexual journey and what he realizes. And for Pollack, same thing as Kidman: his monologue at the end was superb, but a little long I will admit. Now, with most of Kubrick's films, the score is an important aspect and with this film it is no exception. The main piece of music to pay attention to is the creepy as hell piece known as Dominic Harlan's Musica Ricercata, II. When you hear this piece nonstop during the end, you will feel identical to Cruise. I kid you not. Finally, the script. As I said, this is something of a confusing film, seeing as how it gives you hints that this is a dream, hints that this is reality, even hints that someone is out to get Cruise. But, just with the dialogue and how the scenes are constructed, it might not be the best script by Kubrick, but it is impressive nonetheless. Overall, this is a great ending piece to Kubrick's life, but this is not a film for younger viewers. (unless they can be mature with all of the sexual content)
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
Filled with breathtaking images, Kubrick's final film is not a masterpiece but nevertheless the work of a master still exploring new territory.
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2011
I love Kubricks last film, Eyes Wide Shut. The performances by Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise are great, and all the other Kubrick aspects are there as well. Cool music and great cinematography along with hidden details make this movie great. A lot of the negative reviews I have seen for this movie is due to the orgy scene, which I thought was great. People complain about the scene not being erotic. I don't think it was Kubricks intention to make it erotic and if you want something erotic go watch a porno.
Super Reviewer
June 21, 2007
There is something that is so, so captivating about this film, despite its length. It's like walking through a dream sequence that ends in nightmare.
Super Reviewer
½ April 28, 2011
Director Stanley Kubrick has without doubt, offered up some of the most thought provoking films throughout his career. He is renowndly fastidious and with this being one of the longest ever shoots in history to complete (it took over a year), Kubrick's fastidious nature payed off.
Happily married New York City doctor, Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) appears to have the perfect life with his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman). When she admits that she had a potent sexual fantasy about a man she never met and was tempted to cheat on him, he is left reeling from shock, and goes out into the Manhattan night where he meets strange characters and enters into a world of sexual adventure for the first time in his life.
First off, I love how Kubrick can make a room feel. He has a knack for crafting a place or scene that is vast yet claustrophobic. He gives a place importance, and here it is no different. Despite being set in the vibrant sprawling nightlife of New York City, we seem enclosed in the character of Cruise's tormented doctor. Kubrick managed the same effect in "The Shining" and it also brings the actors to the forefront and enhances their performances. Speaking of which, Cruise and Kidman are very brave and dynamic here. Their real life marriage (at the time) effectively seems to permeate the characters, giving a very intimate portrayal of a strained, unfulfilled relationship. Cruise in particular smolders on screen, always heavily weighted on. There is an escalating sense of foreboding and danger in the experiences of Dr. Harford. Are they his fantasies? Or are they the world around him, that he has been cloistered from, now that his sexual desires and imagination have been reawakened? This is a film that is most certainly not for all tastes but has been judged unfairly in my opinion. It's not the explicit orgy that people expected, but a deeply surreal psychological exploration of sexual tension, paranoia and jealousy, that if viewed from a subconcious perspective, is highly rewarding.
A rich, provocative meditation on the human psyche and sexual desires, anchored by a excellent central peformance by Cruise. One of Kubrick's finest and sadly his last.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ March 23, 2011
Stanley Kubrick's final film was also his most laboriously detailed, something that might explain the Guinness book of world records to award it the "longest constant movie shoot". There are the Kubrick signatures such as striking color contrasts in set design and scenes utilizing only a single, wide-angle camera, but the story is unlike anything the director's attempted before. Real life (at the time) couple Tom Cruise and Nichole Kidman play a husband and wife who are toying and playing with the idea of infidelity. After a night of flirting at a party, the two break into an argument where it's revealed Kidman's character is more open to the idea of leaving her husband than he ever suspected. His ego severely bruised and his manhood questioned, he sets out to have a fling, or at least some cheap, meaningless sex. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for him, he finds it is impossible to have an affair without consequences. In fact, the consequences maybe life-or-death for he and his family.

Eyes Wide Shut is one of the most technically perfect and methodically paced films ever committed to celluloid, in spite of Nichole Kidman's somewhat shrill performance (and her inability to deliver a passing american accent). What are the dangers of using sex as a weapon anyway?
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2010
"Eyes Wide Shut" is my favorite film from the late, great Stanley Kubrick. There are so many layers to the story, characters and plot that it's almost impossible to go through them all here, but know that if you are willing to commit yourself to this dark film you are in for some wonderfully maddening performances, highly symbolic direction and cinematography, a haunting score and a bracing descent into the psycho/sexual. There are many, many ways to view "Eyes Wide Shut" and that's part of the enjoyment with revisiting it, you always seem to take something new away each time. A truly unique motion picture.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2010
This was good stuff...The suspence was killing me. The whole movie is so slow. But in a very great way. Very mysterious....Thumbs up for Tom!
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2007
An upper middle class professional couple in New York argue leading to the husband seeking a night of revenge driven sexual encounters at the thought of his wife's sexual fantasies with another man. Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut is a film I desperately wanted to like but like the A.I. project, which I still refuse to believe he instigated in its present form, it seems bafflingly bland and pointless. For a start, did Kubrick sit through Far And Away and think to himself "Eureka! That's the onscreen chemistry I was looking for!"?! Aside from some mindly intriguing gender political mind games, all you have here is Cruise wandering around New York encountering one deeply unlikely situation after another culminating in a ridiculously affected pseudo orgy and a total non-mystery. The acting is as unconvincing as you'd expect from leads who are "stars" rather than actors and the whole thing just feels like a present that's all fancy wrapping paper with nothing inside.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2009
"Eyes Wide Shut" - Now that's what you gotta do to enjoy this movie!!! Seems that even God was so much disappointed by this one that he had Kubrick Eyes Wide Shut forever :P

Not at all recommended.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2007
An absolute masterpiece. Thank you Stanley for one last film.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2009
One of my favorite movies. It is probably one of Stanley Kubrick's most unique films and maybe his most emotional. It has a great plot that goes from somewhat normal to a complete meltdown with flawless ease. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's performances were really the driving force in the story and made it all the more convincing.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2009
Stanley Kubrick?s Eyes Wide Shut is a classic example of a film whose reputation precedes it so much that the finished product will always be a disappointment. It wasn?t just the unusual marketing, which confused the audience into thinking they were going to see one kind of film and then presenting them with another. The effect of Kubrick?s death, the lengthy production and the level of secrecy surrounding the film, all ensured that audience expectations would be high, and that as a result, many people would come out of screenings feeling confused, misled, or possibly betrayed.

But in a way, all of this is strangely appropriate. Regardless of their central themes ? be it war, progress, or in this case jealousy ? all of Kubrick?s films have been about taking the audience?s expectations and then exceeding or subverting them. In his best films he manages both, creating a visual world which is overwhelmingly brilliant and technically stunning, and then playing out a series of events which surprise and challenge the audience, to the extent that, in the case of 2001 and The Shining, the genre is completely changed.

Eyes Wide Shut may not exceed audience expectations, but it certainly subverts them. Consider the orgy sequences at the Somerton Mansion. Any other director ? with the possible exception of Ken Russell ? would have used these scenes to titillate the audience, to reward their perseverance with a sexual smorgasbord which would appeal to some kind of base instinct. But in Eyes Wide Shut, you?re not turned on by the sex scenes; you?re disgusted by them. They are comparable to those in Ken Russell?s The Devils, but whereas in The Devils the orgy scenes are an indicator of demonic possession, in Eyes Wide Shut they demonstrate a secret, animalistic corruption at the core of polite society. Kubrick takes sex, one of the most celebrated and glamorised acts of human interaction, and turns it into an emblem of all that is excessive and shameful.

In many ways, this is Kubrick?s most moralistic film. But like all of his films, there is never a moment at which any character will suggest that what they are doing is wrong. Nor is there anything in either the direction or the screenplay which forces an audience to lean one way or the other. One of the charms of Kubrick?s work, right back to A Clockwork Orange, is that the audience is never quite sure whose side they should be on (or whether, in the case of A Clockwork Orange, it is pointless to choose). Much like David Fincher?s Se7en, it deals with the idea that certain human practices have become so commonplace that they have become accepted by default, on the basis that nothing can be done to fight them. But where Fincher had to juggle with seven sins, Kubrick takes on one, narrows the focus and uses it to deeply challenge an audience.

The film?s use of dream logic (in which events and images can repeat themselves in distorted or corrupted forms) is successfully underpinned by the dreamlike fashion of shooting. With the exception of the last half hour, there are very few sequences in Eyes Wide Shut that are genuinely boring, since everything always seems too stately and too idealised for everything to be hunky-dory. Just as in The Shining, the blandness of the encounters Tom Cruise has is not a measure of reassurance but a seed of paranoia which is planted in the viewer?s mind. We feel like we are in a dream which slowly but surely turns into a nightmare until eventually, in the final scenes, our world comes crashing down and we awake. The increasing surrealism of his encounters, ranging from the meeting with the prostitute Domino to his arrival at the orgy, really create the sense that this entire sexual odyssey is one long act of jealousy playing out inside Tom Cruise?s head ? which further bolsters the message of the film as a warning against the corrupting power of hedonism.

Of the central performances, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are very good, playing the archetypal middle-class husband and wife, wrestling between their ambitions and their responsibilities. Considering Cruise?s subsequent controversies, and their respective choice of roles, it is reassuring that at some point in their careers, both Cruise and Kidman were capable of delivering performances which were both authentic and immersive. Sydney Pollack does very well in his supporting role of Victor Ziegler, delivering a powerful final speech during the scene in the billiard room. And on the cameos front, there are some fine appearances by Alan Cumming and Vinessa Shaw, who is far more convincing here than in 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Eyes Wide Shut is not a masterpiece, nor is it a contender for Kubrick?s best film. Even if the device of the slow story is accepted, the final half hour could have been substantially trimmed or sped up, to give a better indication of the unravelling of Cruise?s aborted fantasies. Certainly there is a lot of tying up of loose ends ? rare in a Kubrick film ? which does not suit its slow pace. Nevertheless, like all of Kubrick?s work, Eyes Wide Shut draws the audience in with its unusual style and vivid imagination, only to completely shake our preconceptions to the core. It holds a mirror up to the faults we take for granted, and without preaching, lets us see ourselves with eyes wide open.
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