Eyes Wide Shut movie review – 1999


Eyes Wide Shut” is a film directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1999. It is a psychological drama/mystery film that explores themes of sexual desire, secrecy, and the nature of relationships. The movie stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who were married at the time.

The film is based on the novella “Traumnovelle” (Dream Story) by Arthur Schnitzler. It follows the story of Dr. Bill Harford, played by Tom Cruise, a wealthy New York City doctor who embarks on a night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife, Alice Harford, played by Nicole Kidman, reveals her sexual fantasies during a conversation.

Dr. Harford’s journey takes him through various encounters and surreal situations, including a lavish masked orgy and encounters with mysterious and potentially dangerous individuals. As the night progresses, he becomes increasingly obsessed with uncovering the truth behind these secretive and secretive organizations.

“Eyes Wide Shut” received mixed reviews upon its release but has since gained a cult following. It is notable for its atmospheric cinematography, intense performances, and its exploration of human sexuality and desire. The film also drew attention due to its explicit sexual content and the real-life relationship between its two main stars, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Tragically, Stanley Kubrick passed away shortly before the film’s release, making “Eyes Wide Shut” his final completed work. Despite its initial reception, the film has since been reevaluated by many critics and is considered a significant part of Kubrick’s filmography.

The film was Stanley Kubrick’s last directorial effort before his death in March 1999. He had been working on the project for several years, meticulously crafting each scene to his exacting standards.
“Eyes Wide Shut” is known for its long takes and slow pacing, creating a dreamlike and hypnotic atmosphere throughout the film. Kubrick was known for his meticulous attention to detail and perfectionism, and this film is no exception.
The movie delves into themes of sexual obsession, jealousy, and the masks people wear in their everyday lives. It explores the dark underbelly of desire and the consequences of pursuing one’s deepest fantasies.
The film’s production was shrouded in secrecy, with the set being highly controlled and limited access granted to outsiders. This added to the mystique surrounding the movie and fueled speculation about its subject matter.
“Eyes Wide Shut” features a notable soundtrack, including the haunting music of Jocelyn Pook, who composed the eerie and atmospheric score. The film also includes various classical pieces, such as György Ligeti’s “Musica Ricercata” and Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Waltz No. 2.”
The explicit sexual content and provocative nature of the film generated controversy and led to the creation of multiple versions for different markets. Kubrick had to make adjustments to the film to satisfy censorship boards and secure the desired rating in different countries.
Despite mixed initial reviews, “Eyes Wide Shut” has gained a reputation as a thought-provoking and visually stunning film. It is often analyzed for its symbolism and deep exploration of human desires and the complexities of relationships.
The film’s title, “Eyes Wide Shut,” refers to the idea of willful ignorance and the blind acceptance of societal norms and conventions. It suggests that people may choose to turn a blind eye to the darker aspects of human nature and the hidden truths that lie beneath the surface.
Overall, “Eyes Wide Shut” is a film that continues to captivate audiences with its enigmatic narrative, stunning visuals, and exploration of the human psyche. It remains a significant part of Stanley Kubrick’s filmography and a thought-provoking piece of cinema.

The film’s production was a lengthy and meticulous process. Stanley Kubrick was known for his perfectionism and attention to detail, and “Eyes Wide Shut” was no exception. The film had a long shooting schedule, spanning over 15 months, and Kubrick often demanded multiple takes to achieve the desired performances and visuals.
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who were married at the time, play the central couple in the film. Their real-life relationship added an extra layer of complexity and intensity to their performances, as they portrayed a married couple grappling with issues of trust, jealousy, and sexual desire.
The iconic masked orgy scene in the film is one of its most memorable and controversial moments. It was shot over a period of several days with a large number of extras and elaborate set design. The scene’s explicit nature and depiction of sexual rituals garnered attention and sparked discussions about censorship and artistic freedom.
The film explores themes of power and privilege, as Dr. Bill Harford, played by Tom Cruise, navigates a world of wealthy and influential individuals who engage in secret and taboo activities. It raises questions about the nature of social class, hidden desires, and the lengths people will go to preserve their status and reputation.
“Eyes Wide Shut” was initially given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) due to its sexual content. To secure an R-rating, Kubrick made digital alterations to obscure some of the more explicit scenes. However, in international markets, including the United Kingdom, the film was released in its original unaltered form.
Kubrick’s signature visual style is evident throughout the film. He meticulously crafted each frame, using carefully composed shots, precise lighting, and a muted color palette to create a distinct and atmospheric visual experience. The film’s cinematography, done by Larry Smith, contributes to the overall dreamlike and surreal ambiance.
“Eyes Wide Shut” has been the subject of numerous interpretations and analyses, with theories ranging from psychological symbolism to societal critiques. The film’s ambiguous and open-ended conclusion invites audiences to form their own interpretations and engage in discussions about its deeper meaning.
Despite its polarizing reception upon release, “Eyes Wide Shut” has gained a dedicated following and is considered a significant work in Stanley Kubrick’s filmography. It continues to be studied and analyzed by film scholars and cinephiles for its themes, imagery, and exploration of human desires and fantasies.
These additional details should provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” and its various aspects.

The film was set in New York City, but most of the shooting took place in the United Kingdom. Kubrick recreated various iconic New York City locations, such as Greenwich Village and the Rainbow Room, on soundstages at Pinewood Studios in England. This decision was made due to Kubrick’s reclusive nature and his preference for working in a controlled environment.
The screenplay for “Eyes Wide Shut” underwent several revisions during the film’s development. Initially, Kubrick collaborated with author Frederic Raphael, who had previously worked with him on the screenplay for “Eyes Wide Shut.” However, Kubrick later made substantial changes to the script, incorporating new ideas and altering the narrative.
The film was released posthumously, as Stanley Kubrick passed away just a few days after presenting the final cut of the film to Warner Bros. His death added an air of mystery and intrigue to the release, as it was the last film from one of the most revered and enigmatic directors in cinematic history.
“Eyes Wide Shut” explores themes of jealousy, sexual obsession, and the tension between love and desire. It delves into the complexities of monogamy, infidelity, and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy.
The film’s title, “Eyes Wide Shut,” is a reference to the idea of willful ignorance and the act of keeping one’s eyes closed to uncomfortable truths. It suggests that people often choose to ignore or suppress their desires, fears, and the hidden aspects of their lives.
The film features a number of recurring motifs and symbols, such as masks, mirrors, and recurring colors like red and blue. These elements contribute to the film’s dreamlike and symbolic nature, inviting viewers to interpret their significance.
Despite its mixed initial reception, “Eyes Wide Shut” has gained a cult following and has been reevaluated by critics over time. Many now consider it a profound and thought-provoking exploration of human sexuality, relationships, and societal masks.
These additional details should further enhance your understanding and appreciation of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” and its various aspects.

The film’s production design played a crucial role in creating its distinctive atmosphere. Production designer Roy Walker worked closely with Stanley Kubrick to meticulously craft the sets and create a heightened sense of reality. The attention to detail is evident in the meticulously designed interiors, which contribute to the film’s rich visual texture.
“Eyes Wide Shut” explores themes of temptation, guilt, and the exploration of one’s own desires. It delves into the idea of sexual fantasy as a powerful force that can both liberate and consume individuals.
The film contains several references to the works of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who explored the subconscious mind and the hidden desires that shape human behavior. Kubrick incorporates Freudian symbolism and themes throughout the film, adding layers of psychological depth to the narrative.
The movie features a haunting and memorable piano score by Jocelyn Pook. The music, with its repetitive and hypnotic quality, adds to the film’s dreamlike and surreal atmosphere.
“Eyes Wide Shut” was released with a runtime of approximately 159 minutes. However, there have been reports of a longer cut of the film that Stanley Kubrick had intended to release. This longer version is said to have included additional scenes and a more explicit depiction of the orgy sequence.
The performances of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the film were widely praised. Both actors deliver nuanced and emotionally charged portrayals of their characters, capturing the inner turmoil and complexities of their relationship.
The film’s exploration of sexual themes and its portrayal of a secret society engaged in taboo activities sparked theories and speculation about its connection to real-life events and organizations. Some viewers have interpreted the film as a veiled critique of elite societies and their hidden practices.
“Eyes Wide Shut” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. The film also garnered recognition for its cinematography, art direction, and costume design.
These additional details should provide you with a deeper understanding of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” and its various elements.

The film’s production was marked by Stanley Kubrick’s meticulous attention to detail. He reportedly had the actors perform numerous takes of each scene, sometimes reaching into the double digits, to achieve the desired performances.
The story is set during the Christmas season, and the holiday decorations and motifs are subtly incorporated throughout the film. This juxtaposition of festive imagery with the film’s dark themes adds to its unsettling and eerie atmosphere.
“Eyes Wide Shut” has been noted for its exploration of gender dynamics and power imbalances within relationships. It portrays both men and women as susceptible to sexual temptation and desire, challenging traditional gender roles and expectations.
The film’s dialogue is often characterized by long, drawn-out conversations and monologues that reveal the characters’ inner thoughts and conflicts. This contributes to the film’s contemplative and introspective tone.
“Eyes Wide Shut” includes several allusions to other works of art and literature. For example, the film references the novella “Traumnovelle” by Arthur Schnitzler, which served as the source material, as well as paintings by artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Gustav Klimt.
The film’s ambiguous and open-ended conclusion has sparked debates and various interpretations among viewers. The final scene, in which the main characters engage in a conversation, leaves their fate and the resolution of their relationship uncertain.
In addition to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, “Eyes Wide Shut” features a talented ensemble cast, including Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson, Todd Field, and Rade Šerbedžija, among others. Each actor brings depth and complexity to their respective roles, further enriching the film.
Despite its initial mixed reception, “Eyes Wide Shut” has gained a significant following and has been praised for its bold exploration of human desires, its evocative imagery, and its thought-provoking themes.
These additional details should provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” and its various elements.

The film’s depiction of sexuality and desire is often described as both provocative and restrained. While there are explicit scenes and sexual imagery throughout the film, Kubrick approached these elements with a sense of restraint and subtlety, focusing more on the psychological aspects of desire rather than explicit gratification.
The film’s exploration of sexual themes and its depiction of a secretive society have led to numerous theories and interpretations about its underlying meanings. Some have viewed it as a commentary on power dynamics, while others have seen it as an exploration of the subconscious mind and the hidden desires within individuals.
The movie contains numerous visual motifs and recurring symbols, such as masks, mirrors, and the color red. These symbols serve to enhance the film’s themes and create a sense of visual cohesion.
The film’s release was delayed due to Stanley Kubrick’s meticulous post-production process. He continued to make adjustments and refinements to the film even after its initial premiere, seeking perfection in every aspect.
The central theme of “Eyes Wide Shut” is often regarded as the tension between the facade of societal norms and the underlying desires and impulses that exist beneath the surface. The film explores the idea that everyone wears masks and that true human desires are often kept hidden.
“Eyes Wide Shut” was adapted into a stage play in 2019, directed by Belgian director Ivo van Hove. The play premiered at the Barbican Theatre in London and received critical acclaim for its interpretation of the film’s themes and its inventive staging.
The film’s hypnotic pacing and deliberate editing choices contribute to its dreamlike quality. Kubrick used long takes, deliberate pauses, and measured pacing to create a sense of unease and disorientation.
“Eyes Wide Shut” has been the subject of extensive analysis and academic study, with scholars examining its themes of sexuality, power, and identity. The film continues to generate discussions and interpretations among film enthusiasts and scholars.
These additional details should further enhance your understanding of the film “Eyes Wide Shut” and its various aspects.

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