Eyes Wide Shut (1999) / Thriller-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug-related material (cut version)
Running Time: 159 min.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Madison Eginton, Sydney Pollack, Jackie Sawris
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael
Review published January 1, 2000
When his wife (Kidman, Practical Magic) reveals to a young Manhattan doctor (Cruise, Jerry Maguire) fantasies of infidelity with a strange Navy man from years ago, it kicks the doctor off into an odyssey of sexual fantasies of his own, culminating in a visit to an old pianist friend who opens the door for him to enter a strange cultist orgy which is controlled by people so powerful, they might be willing to kill to keep their rituals a secret, and are a bit unpleased that the uninvited doctor has crashed their party.
Sadly, Kubrick's (Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange) first film in over 12 years is also his last. Luckily, he ends his career on a positive note, as Eyes Wide Shut is a fascinating and absorbing look into the conflict of a man who opens up to his sexual fantasies until they almost consume him.
Lots of symbolism by one of the masters of cinema, with particular themes relating wanton casual sex and death. Cruise is very good in this third collaboration with his wife, Nicole Kidman (who isn't as good), while Sydney Pollack (A Civil Action, The Player) chips in a quality supporting performance.
The film runs at a long 2 hours, 40 minutes, and while the first half hour is a bit slow, it soon becomes more and more riveting as the drama progresses. Eyes Wide Shut is at times overdrawn, at others overlong, but there's more than enough moments of eruditeness to make this a sexual suspense vehicle to remember.
©2000 Vince Leo