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Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Cruise. Kidman. Kubrick.

Original Title : Eyes Wide Shut
Director : Stanley Kubrick
Writer : Arthur Schnitzler
Stanley Kubrick
Frederic Raphael
Genre : Thriller
Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Brian W. Cook , Jan Harlan , Stanley Kubrick
Music : Jocelyn Pook
MPAA Rating : Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug-related material.
IMDB ID : 0120663
Official site : http://www.eyeswideshut.com/
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poster for "Eyes Wide Shut" by Stanley Kubrick (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - Stanley Kubrick
 

Starring

┬Tom Cruise Dr. William 'Bill' Harford
┬Nicole Kidman Alice Harford
┬Madison Eginton Helena Harford
┬Jackie Sawiris Roz
┬Sydney Pollack Victor Ziegler
┬Leslie Lowe Illona
┬Peter Benson Bandleader
┬Todd Field Nick Nightingale
┬Michael Doven Ziegler's secretary
┬Sky Dumont Sandor Szavost
┬Louise J. Taylor Gayle (as Louise Taylor
┬Stewart Thorndike Nuala
┬Randall Paul Harris
┬Julienne Davis Amanda 'Mandy' Curran
┬Lisa Leone Lisa
┬Kevin Connealy Lou Nathanson
┬Marie Richardson Marion
┬Thomas Gibson Carl
┬Mariana Hewett Rosa
┬Dan Rollman Rowdy college kid
┬Gavin Perry Rowdy college kid
┬Chris Pare Rowdy college kid
┬Adam Lias Rowdy college kid
┬Christian Clarke Rowdy college kid
┬Kyle Whitcombe Rowdy college kid
┬Gary Goba Naval officer
┬Vinessa Shaw Domino
┬Florian Windorfer Ma├«tre d' - Caf├ę Sonata
┬Rade Serbedzija Mr. Milich (as Rade Sherbedgia
┬Togo Igawa Japanese man
┬Eiji Kusuhara Japanese man
┬Leelee Sobieski Milich's daughter
┬Sam Douglas Cab driver
┬Angus MacInnes Gateman
┬Abigail Good Mysterious woman/Masked party principal
┬Brian W. Cook Tall butler
┬Leon Vitali Red cloak
┬Carmela Marner Waitress at Gillespie's
┬Alan Cumming Desk clerk
┬Fay Masterson Sally
┬Phil Davies Stalker
┬Cindy Dolenc Girl at Sharky's
┬Clark Hayes Hospital receptionist
┬Treva Etienne Morgue orderly
┬Colin Angus Masked party principal
┬Karla Ashley Masked party principal
┬Kathryn Charman Masked party principal
┬James Demaria Masked party principal
┬Anthony Desergio Masked party principal
┬Janie Dickens Masked party principal
┬Laura Fallace Masked party principal
┬Vanessa Fenton Masked party principal
┬Georgina Finch Masked party principal
┬Peter Godwin Masked party principal
┬Joanna Heath Masked party principal
┬Lee Henshaw Masked party principal
┬Ateeka Poole Masked party principal
┬Adam Pudney Masked party principal
┬Sharon Quinn Masked party principal
┬Ben De Saumserez Masked party principal (as Ben De Sausmarez
┬Emma Lou Sharratt Masked party principal
┬Paul Spelling Masked party principal
┬Matthew Thompson Masked party principal
┬Dan Travers Masked party principal
┬Russell Trigg Masked party principal
┬Kate Whalin Masked party principal
┬Heather Carter-Drake (uncredited
┬Emilio D'Alessandro Man at newsstand (uncredited
┬Donna Ewin Masked buxom girl (uncredited
┬Tres Hanley Coffee shop manager (uncredited
┬Alex Hobbs Boy in examination room (uncredited
┬Christiane Kubrick Woman sitting behind Dr. Harford at Cafe Sonata (uncredited
┬Katharina Kubrick Mother of boy in examination room (uncredited
 

Plot

Sexual jolts disrupt Manhattan physician Bill Harford's equilibrium. At an elegant Christmas party, two "models" hit on him, he watches a Lothario try to pick up his tipsy wife, he aids a woman sprawled naked in a bathroom after an overdose. The next night, his wife reveals sexual fantasies with a stranger, a dead patient's daughter throws herself at him, as he walks, brooding, six teen boys hurl homophobic insults at him, a streetwalker takes him to her flat, he interrupts men having a sex party with a girl barely in her teens. His odyssey, which next takes him into a world of wealthy sex play at a masked ball of hedonism, threatens his life, his self-respect, and his marriage.
 

Comments

It's a shame that this film was promoted as a "hot" erotic thriller. Kubrick would not have allowed that marketing campaign to go forward had he been alive. Sure there's a lot of eroticism in this movie, but those who go to it looking for sexual thrills are going to be (and were) sorely disappointed. The events in this movie are triggered by the protagonist's wife's revelation that she almost slept with another man. This kicks off a range of emotions and prompts him to re-evaluate his sexual relationship with her, subsequently leading to a trip through his sexual SUBconscious. This is the critical point that all too many viewers miss, though it's so overtly surreal I don't see how one could miss it. None of this is real! It's called Eyes Wide SHUT for a reason! All of our protagonists' "encounters" represent manifestations of his sexual fantasies and fears. His fantasies include group sex, sex with a teenager, sex with a prostitute, sex without strings. His fears include disease, homosexuality (notice the brutal and brief encounter with the gay-bashing gang), and most of all: discovery. Discovery of his hidden fantasies, which might reveal his true nature to the world. Discovery that he is really a pretender, doesn't really belong, and is not worthy after all. This latter is probably universal, and in his case while it has sexual dimensions it is not purely sexual. In the end he realizes that his fantasies are just fantasies, at least some of his fears are legitimate, and that instead of just fantasizing about sex he should actually have sex with his wife. Not rocket science here, but plenty of people need reminding of this from time to time, and it's a well-told story. I was fortunate enough to first see this movie in theaters overseas, and was spared the atrocity of digital editing to make things less explicit. David Lynch did the same thing more recently in Mulholland Drive, and I hope that this is not the beginning of a trend. Given all of the explicit gore and brutality in movies, the level of sexual explicitness that triggers the censors is simply laughable. Frankly, having seen the un-edited version, I didn't think it was a big deal. One can't dismiss criticisms that the nudity was all female and many of the women were depicted as sexual objects, but this movie is quite pointedly a trip through a fairly conventional man's sexual unconscious and necessarily told from a male point of view. So none of these things should be a surprise. It would be very interesting to see a comparable exploration of the female sexual subconscious by an accomplished woman director, though I'm not holding my breath that the Hollywood establishment will allow that to happen soon.
 
poster for "Eyes Wide Shut"
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Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - Stanley Kubrick
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