Posted on 8/14/13 01:42 AM
"Eyes Wide Shut" is yet another severely misunderstood film by Kubrick, whose attention to detail and ability to enrich the content of his films should be taken into consideration whenever watching his work. I haven't read the book that this film is based on, but, truth be told, any Kubrick fan would know by now that his films evidently deviate greatly from their literary source; one of Kubrick's greatest strengths is taking a simply framework of a story and making it into his own, and usually, if not always, into a work of magnificence and bravura.
The film works on various levels that makes it such a unique and incredible experience. Aesthetically, the nightmarish noir-like lighting and beautiful nighttime cinematography of Kubrick's version of the deranged underbelly of a city are top-of-the-line eye candy, not to mention the beautiful ethereal soundtrack featuring Shostakovich. As an intense suspense thriller, 'Eyes Wide Shut' almost reaches the same terrifying horror as 'The Shining,' with the main scenes of Cruise's character encountering a cult being genuinely scary and the sprawling ambiguous danger looming in the aftermath always keeping us on the edge of our seats. And, for intellectual stimulation, Kubrick uses his film as an exceptional study of the human libido, jealousy, paranoia, obsession, and, perhaps, even affection.
All these elements come together in the oneiric world of 'Eyes Wide Shut,' one that operates almost on dream logic. And, like all Kubrick films, the real fun and blissful cinematic enjoyment comes through when the viewer takes the extra step in digging underneath the superficial events that simply occur to discover the various layers and dimensions which the film operates. The aforementioned nightmarish lighting and cinematography potently add to the dream-like setting, with various juxtapositions between shots of the dark cult underbelly of human society and with Cruise's vastly different family life or the classy patrician function in the beginning suggesting a discrete world that operates on corrupting memories.
The aftermath of the cult scene, which goes all the way to the film's ending, is so shrouded in ambiguity, paranoia, and a contorted whodunit story brilliantly synthesized with a shaky verisimilitude that it further adds to the oneiric quality of the plot; we don't know who objectively killed whom, if people we don't hear of again are even alive, how the cult operates or what they even truly are, etc. Kubrick makes our experience just as disorienting, bizarre, and nebulous as Cruise's in the film. Nothing is irrevocably concrete. In fact, I personally think Cruise's character imagined the one bit with him bumping into a gang of rude chauvinistic late-night chavs raunchily teasing his sexuality, a manifestation of his lecherous thoughts of adultery formed after the fallout of an undesirable conversation with his wife regarding her libido as well. The fact that the bit took place with only Cruise as the witness, I believe, supports this interpretation. Who knows, it's speculative and uncongealed, which only adds to the fun. Take notes, David Lynch.
On this fascinating note, I'm surprised comparisons between this film and "The Master" have not been made yet, or at least ones that I've yet to hear of, for the latter film also utilizes a plot about the dynamics of a cult to explore some rather determined themes of sexuality, the human libido, and what we'd do for affection and security.
Alternatively, on a more awkward note, but one that must be confronted, I'm also writing this review from the motivation of my noticing that, were I to not write a review in a given amount of time, apparently RT will automatically bump my older reviews without my consent? Please stop that. It's fairly annoying and inane. I would rather not have my page always be composed of the same handful of reviews that have been occupying my page literally for months. When I take the time to finally write a new review because I want to, since I personally think this is an excellent site for film discourse, that's the review which I want to be featured on my reviews page, one that should work by chronological logic. Not to just have it bumped down with my older reviews, ones I still obviously care for but me simply exhibiting a very common behavior of moving on with my life, taking the spotlight for eternity; it's as if I shouldn't have even bothered to write any new reviews. If I wanted them bumped back up, I would do it myself. Please fix this...