Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers:   Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael, Arthur Schnitzler
Cast:       Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack

A New-York doctor Bill Halford (Tom Cruise) is shocked to hear that his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) had fantasized about having an affair with a naval officer when they were on holiday. He leaves home after getting a call about the death of a female friend's father and proceed to have a sexually charged adventurous night. First the friend make a pass on him, then he has an encounter with a prostitute which almost leads to sex and finally he infiltrates a massive masked orgy of an unnamed secret society. 

Then real life couple Cruise-Kidman, are playing two people in a relationship that is getting a bit sterile like all relationships do at some point of time. The cocky and naive doctor's role is perfect for Cruise. Their relationship survives the ordeal that they go through over the course of the film but Bill appears to be still naive at the end of it as he insists on promising to stay together forever. It seems that Kubrick is also entering the Haneke territory by poking fun at Bill's bourgeoisie lifestyle with which Alice is obviously bored. This is also emphasized with the pity he shows towards his medical school dropout friend who is a pianist now and his admiration towards the rich socialite friend Ziegler (Pollack). 

Even though all the events depicted in the film appear straight-forward with the exposition that Ziegler gives to Bill in the latter part of the film, one could really question whether all those things  really happened. He has his encounter with the prostitute at 12 midnight after which he goes to meet the pianist. He then proceeds to get the costume for the secret meeting and he is back at home by 4 in the morning. A lot of things are supposed to have happened in just under four hours.

I had seen the film around three years back and have been meaning to revisit it for some time. I really liked it first time round but even so I was taken aback by the visual beauty of the film. Kubrick was inspired by Kieslowski's 'Three Colors Trilogy' and has tried to fit in the colors of rainbow in almost all the frames. Sounds are also amazing and especially the chants during the orgy scene. It was really cool to see that Stanley fucking Kubrick used some malayalam poetry in the orgy scene. The creepy venetian masks captures the foreboding and weirdness of the whole affair. 

Eyes Wide Shut is in the Guinness World Records for longest constant movie shoot at 15 months. Kubrick died five days after presenting the final cut to the studio. 

Rating: 5/5