Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Eyes Wide Shut

I suppose it would take a Kubrick movie to get me blogging again. Admittedly, I've been on a bit of a self-imposed exile from blogging. I'm not sure what good it is doing me or my page views, but sometimes unspoken reflection is just as fine as written reflection. Sure, I've got plenty of backlog to wade through. Reviews for Trigun Maximum Omnibus, Vol. 2 and a Chinese flick called A Touch of Sin need to be written before I completely forget them (A Touch of Sin would actually be a little too easy to forget), but I just haven't brought myself to type a single word. 

I've been watching The Walking Dead on Netflix from scratch. I'm almost finished with the fifth season, but I opted to not post reviews on the show. Just didn't feel like it. Didn't want to, actually. It would slow my progress way down. 

But I just couldn't stay away from a Kubrick movie that I only just watched for the first time. Funny thing is I have no idea what the hell to say. 

What a strange, strange movie this was. 

I'm glad I didn't watch this movie when I was younger. The sexual content would have been a bit too much for me to focus on the movie. 

Remember the Titanic when Rose stripped so Leo could sketch her picture? When I saw that part as a kid I couldn't look at the screen. It was embarrassing. I still can't watch a sex scene when it comes to movies, without looking over my shoulder a bit. Maybe that's still a bit of the lingering guilt-complex from my exposure to southern fried religion as a child. 

Violence was easy to watch, by comparison. I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps I knew that it was fake whereas a naked and writhing body most assuredly was not. Couldn't just write that off as a movie effect, I suppose. 

Eyes Wide Shut was an incredibly uncomfortable movie. A large part of that was due to the atmosphere that Kubrick created. The first thing I noticed was that it was Christmas time. I thought that was perfect for some reason. What better time to bring up notions of infidelity and crisis then during Christmas? 

The opening party scene had me wondering just a bit about what kind of performances I would see from the lead couple of Cruise and Kidman. They didn't, initially, come across as real people. Kidman dancing around and flirting with the older gentleman and getting tipsy while Cruise was being flirtatious himself... I wasn't sure what to think. I was afraid I'd be stuck with two snobbish characters I couldn't stand. 

But after that, when the cracks began to appear in their relationship, their characters really came alive. 

As Cruise really feels his sanity slip away and he goes on his night adventures the movie starts to feel like something closer to The Shining than Lolita. Actually, a film I thought for some reason or another was Rosemary's Baby. Perhaps it was the orgy scene and the red cloaked guy that did that. The Masque of Red Death was another film I thought of. 

I could swear this was a horror movie. I've heard the term "erotic thriller" used, but I don't know. At times, it was erotic, but more often it was clinical and cold. About as erotic as a doctor's visit, I might say. And it was super fucking creepy. 

Tom Cruise was fantastic in this movie. In some ways I was reminded of Gene Hackman's role in The Conversation. Just incredible stuff. Few people can really instill a sense of paranoia so well. 

Kidman, who gets sidelined for much of the movie as Cruise journeys about, maintains a solid performance throughout. Although she just doesn't have quite as much to do or work with. 

The orgy scene is probably the highlight of the film. It's the strangest part of the whole movie. And that is really saying something. 

I've seen 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, but this could very well be Kubrick's strangest film. I know that's saying a lot, but I haven't seen a film that has left me feeling so downright unsettled and weirded out in quite some time. 

It was a great viewing experience, though.

And yes, Nicole Kidman was fucking hot in this movie. Just sayin'. 


  1. Well, that didn't take long.

    I like this film more every time I see it. I was lukewarm to it at first (at least lukewarm compared to other Kubrick films but I still liked it quite a bit). I've seen it three times and it just gets better every time. From what I read, the novel this is based on was written in the 1920s. What a shocker that must have been. I wonder how torn Stanley was whether to set this in the 20s or the 90s? I actually think it is kind of amazing that he was able to set this in the 90s and still make it so creepy. We are so much more casual about these types of things now than people were in the 20s that the 20s seems like the logical setting. It's amazing how well he pulled this off in a modern setting.

    FYI - If you buy the Kubrick Criterion Collection blu-ray, The Killing, the movie Killer's Kiss is a bonus feature. I bought it a while back without even realizing the extra movie was on there. Nice bonus.

    Anytime you can get one of those Criterion Collection movies, you can't do any better. I have several and they are look and sound great and are filled with extras.