A cult film about a cult, and Stanley Kubick’s final feature. Kubrick actually died only 4 days after screening the final cut of the movie, and even at the age of 70 he still manged to produce a film surrounded by controversies and disputes over censorship and classification.
Eyes Wide Shut is essentially the Citizen Kane of erotic thrillers. Beautifully shot and accompanied by Kubrick’s classic blend of pop and classical music, the film also stars two of the biggest Hollywood actors of the time.
Inspired by an Austrian novel from the early 20th Century, the film centres around a New York doctor (Cruise) and his marriage to Alice (Kidman), an art curator. After Alice drunkenly admits she almost cheated on him, Dr. Hartford furiously heads out to a jazz bar. From there he embarks on a series of dreamlike erotic adventures and becomes involved with a mysterious cult. The film is tense, gripping, sexy, thrilling and features some of the finest cinematography of Stanley Kubrick’s career.
The critical reviews at the time were mixed. Ranging from “Totally Absorbing”, “Mesmerizing” and “Masterfully Executed” to “Eyes Wide Shit”. I’ve always loved the film though. Kubrick is by far one of my favourite directors of all time, and Eyes Wide Shut is up there with some of his finest work. It seems he just kind of drifted in and out of different genres, making the best film that genre has ever seen and the moved on to another. E.g.
- Historical Epic – Spartacus (1960)
- Drama – Lolita (1962)
- Comedy – Dr. Strangelove (1964)
- Sci-Fi – 2001 (1968)
- Dystopian Crime – A Clockwork Orange (1971)
- Period Drama – Barry Lyndon (1975)
- Horror – The Shining (1980)
- War – Full Metal Jacket (1987)
- Erotic Thriller – Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Definitely not one for repeating himself, and definitely not a director afraid to push the boundaries of the censors, I find it amazing that nearly 30 years after the release of the infamous A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick is still able to cause controversy and stir things up in Hollywood.