Master director Stanley Kubrick's final film. Do you think he wished he hadn't hired the Cruises for a kinky sex thriller? The film looks great- it's just lifeless.
Haven't seen it in years, but as I recall it's the lifelessness, the dispassionate disposition of the couple that was so intriguing and a part of the story.
My favorite one-line review of the movie:
[quote]"Eyes Wide Shut" turns out to be the dirtiest movie of 1958.
Washington Post Staff Writer
I think more of it every time I see it, but I keep thinking that if he hadn't died just as it was completed there would be an additional 10 minutes in there somewhere that would make it a much better movie.
I liked the movie!
I also loved the novel on which it was based.
'Dream Story' by Arthur Schnitzler is one of my favourite books. Mesmerizing and gripping.
One of my all time favorites. Definitely in my Top 10.
Kubrick was stifled and full of his own shit by the time he made it. It's surprising he had the spontaneity to die.
How can you not like "Eyes Wide Shut" shut? It was Kubrick's best film to date, and should have been nominated for Best Picture.
Kubricks visuals were interesting as usual, but the plot and Cruse and Kidman was oh so boring.
Only Tom Cruse could turn a sex cult gang bang into Frou Town house wives sex.
That movie was when I first knew that Tom and Nicole's "marriage" was a sham. There was absolutely NO sexual chemistry between the two of them.
It's actually a pretty good film, but no film can be truly great if Tom Cruise is in every fucking frame.
Imagine if it had starred a real actor like Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, Ed Harris, or even Kevin Spacey. Even Travolta would have been better than Cruise, any competent actor would have been better.
Polanski's similar "The Ninth Gate" is far more entertaining and has a more interesting storyline.
One of the few films I've been to where the audience erupted into spontaneous boos when the closing credits started to roll.
Yes r9, no chem, but then how can you get excited touching your beards titties.
I like Cruise in this. He's a blank slate. The audience stays completely neutral because you just can't bring yourself to care what happens to him. It forces you to stay on the outside looking in.
His character reminds me of Dave in 2001.
[quote]the audience erupted into spontaneous boos
I saw it in DC, and the audience erupted in spontaneous laughter.
Silly, overblown, pretentious piece of twaddle.
I don't think it's his greatest movie, but I do like it - haven't seen it in a while. I'm not much of a Kidman or Cruise fan, but I think they're both good in this.
I don't get the negative comments, EWS was a brilliant film.
"I like Cruise in this. He's a blank slate. The audience stays completely neutral because you just can't bring yourself to care what happens to him."
That's a perfect description of Cruise's star turn, and IMHO that's what keeps the film from being great.
Imagine if you saw the film, and actually cared about the leading character...
Are you Roger Ebert, R17?
Most of Kubrick's films were overrated. Except perhaps The Shining and Dr. Strangelove.
I find almost all of his films to be plodding and lifeless. Strangelove would be a notable exception.
i don't think it was a great film, but i do think it was a good one, and an underrated one. maybe it was seen as too much of a vanity project for kidman-cruise, or too silly coming in on the heels of the divorce, but for the most part i think it is quite good.
I think its a fascinating movie. Modern audiences laugh because the idea of sincerity and trying to explore sexuality makes Americans nervous.
All of Kubrick's films were controversial when first released, only to grow in stature over time.
Kidman really shines, she still looked great and gives a very good performance. Their casting was crucial, I think, to the way it feels like both a fiction and a look behind closed doors. A megastar like Tom Cruise makes sense in the role.
I also love how it hints at an Illuminati-like group of people who secretly control everything. Sidney Pollock is great at suggesting hidden sinister forces.
Like all Kubrick movies, it is a "cold" picture, which I think led many to not see it as appropriate for the sexual arena. I think his remove and ironic viewpoint is more interesting, however, than someone like Adrian Lyne and his "turn on the fog machine" idea of sensuality.
2001 was ground breaking for the time, set the town for all Si-Fi films after that.
STOP!!!!!! LET HIM GO. TAKE ME!!!!!! I am READY TO REDEEM HIM!!!!!!!!!!!
[quote]vanity project for kidman-cruise
HAHA. NO ONE signed on to a Kubrick picture expecting to get a vanity project out of it. It was his vanity, if any, that was the center. I don't think vanity was involved in them both having their careers put on hold for 2 years while filming went on forever. My understanding is that Kidman understood what being in a Kubrick film meant in the long term and had to really work on Cruise to get him to agree to do it instead of what could have been 3 other sure-bet blockbusters.
I couldn't make it through EWS.
"Barry Lyndon" however, had me riveted. The atmosphere, mood, story, costumes, locations all were excellent. By far, BL is not everybody's cop of tea but it's the perfect rainy Saturday afternoon film.
"My understanding is that Kidman understood what being in a Kubrick film meant in the long term and had to really work on Cruise to get him to agree to do it"
Hold it... Kidman talked Cruise into making a film about a failed marriage and an evil cult? And he filed for divorce shortly thereafter?
I wonder how long it took him to catch on.
I think Barry Lyndon is his most emotional film, possibly his best. I remember seeing it in the theater and the audience audibly gasping at some of the images.
There are some great analyses of the film online, which opened up the story for me.
It seems to be about the trading of flesh and cash for power - mostly women (at the orgy, the symbolic Barbie doll at the end), but also men of supposed prestige, Dr.Bill, who is constantly handing out cash, once ripping a tip in half for a cabbie he needs to wait for him. He thinks he is high status, but he is merely a slave too. The way Kidman/Cruise greet Ziegler and his wife at the party is a masterpiece of social interaction and subtle revelations of power.
Leelee, Nicole, the grieving patients - everybody - moves through this movie in a detached, haunted, kinked out fugue state!
The ultimate 1% expose movie.
Nicole talks about it here and the interviewer gets her on edge
[quote]Imagine if you saw the film, and actually cared about the leading character...
I know what you're saying R10/18, but I see they audience as being Voyeurs, and Cruise's blank and neutral performance is just another mask that keeps the audience at a distance.
It would be a completely different movie if we cared one way or the other what happened to him, but we care more about the girls and the piano player than we do about any of the major characters.
I like Kubrick's films generally and love 2001 and Barry Lyndon - but I simply had no desire to see this and still haven't. Same with Hitch's Torn Curtain or anything by Billy Wilder in his later period.
The only reason anyone ever praises this film is because it has the Kubrick brand name in the titles.
Much of the problem came from the way it was promoted: as the height of eroticism. If anything, the film was anti-climactic, in every sense of the term.
Throughout the movie, sex and sexuality are equated with disease (AIDS), violence (gay bashing), and ultimately murder. It's like Emmanuelle as directed by Pat Robertson.
I won't even address the plot holes, since Kubrick didn't care either. This is the same director who decided that what was missing from the history of world cinema was a four-hour Ryan O'Neal picture.
I later read that Kubrick took a perverse pleasure in torturing Tom and Nicole with endless (and for Kidman, often humiliating) retakes. It's a pain I share. If this took three years to film, it seems to take half that long to endure.
It's sad that Kubricks last film was this piece of shit.
[quote]Most of Kubrick's films were overrated. Except perhaps The Shining and Dr. Strangelove.
You forgot Full Metal Jacket.
Full Metal Jacket has a fantastic first half, but once they leave basic training it all falls apart.
I regard it was one of the few 5 star films ever made. When I saw it in the theater I was blown away by the layers and symbolism in the film. I was even noticing the lighting in the shots. Cruise's New York apartment was beautifully shot. That is something that the average film viewer never looks for or even pays attention to. Kubrick was really able to bring that out on the screen. Also no other director could get away with publicly calling out Tom Cruise as gay on film (the gay bullying scene by the teens in the street). Was that meant to be an inside joke? As R35 mentions Kubrick took a perverse pleasure in torturing Tom & Nicole. One wonders how many takes they did of that scene and what was Cruise's mental state at the end of that day's shooting. You almost feel sorry for him. Despite the hardships, Cruise and Kidman both still speak fondly of Kubrick and Cruise even narrated that documentary on his life and works after his death. Does anyone know what kind of money Cruise and Kidman got to star in that film? For such a long shoot I wonder if they renegotiated terms as the months and years dragged on.
The thing that was most confusing about the whole film was who was the woman that lead him around at the party and later came to his rescue. There were 2 different women if you watch closely. We were left to compare female pubic hair to try to determine the identity of Cruise's savior at the party. Was it
A) Mandy - the beauty queen who overdosed in Ziegler's bathroom in the early scenes in the film that was later found dead the next day from a drug overdose.
B)Lee Lee Sobiasky's character - the underage girl from Rainbow Rentals. If it was her was she at the sex party with her uncle's blessing because we are left to believe that her uncle Mr. Milich regularly pimped her out on the side, or did she spend the entire evening servicing the Asian johns never leaving the shop.
C) was it Nicole herself as her the description from her dream recall suggests
D) just an anonymous prostitute
Anyone know the answer?
We are also left pondering Ziegler's marital relationship. He cheats on his wife with Mandy yet he takes his real wife with him to the sex party. Were they swingers with an open relationship?
Kubrick always did a lot of takes, it wasn't just on EWS and not specifically to torture Nicole Kidman.
Just ask Shelley Duvall.
[quote]Does anyone know what kind of money Cruise and Kidman got to star in that film? For such a long shoot I wonder if they renegotiated terms as the months and years dragged on.
Much less money than usual. And definitely no new negotiations. Are you kidding?
I've always read it as a dream. I don't think the woman at the party was anyone we'd already seen. CERTAINLY not Kidman or Sobieski as the body types don't match at all. Possibly the OD'ed model, that makes the most sense.
The movie has a lot of doubles. Tom Cruise and the guy from Dharma and Greg are one set, clearly meant to be a visual joke. Kidman reappears as Sobieski, the daughter of the dead man, the od'ed hooker, the prostitute's roommate (all with the same pale skin and strawberry blonde hair as Kidman). The man with the strange accent that seduces Kidman and the man with the strange accent that sells Tom the cloak and mask.
I strongly suspect what Warner Brothers released was not the final cut and that Kubrick would have tinkered with it more had he lived. But, they of course didn't want to risk box office or controversy by saying it was an unfinished film. I don't think Kubrick would have allowed the digital censoring to take place and would have either kept arguing with the ratings board or make WB release it unrated.
[quote]STOP!!!!!! LET HIM GO. TAKE ME!!!!!! I am READY TO REDEEM HIM!!!!!!!!!!!
That's exactly what I mean, this is why EWS is a classic.
R31, I thought Kidman handled that awkward (impertinent?) question well. She didn't storm off camera in a huff but instead continued answering questions in an affable, thoughtful manner. A total pro.
[quote]Also no other director could get away with publicly calling out Tom Cruise as gay on film (the gay bullying scene by the teens in the street). Was that meant to be an inside joke?
Most people in the audience when I saw it laughed. I think it would have been much more shocking if another actor had been in the role.
I thought that scene was disturbing.
Kubrick's daughter was sucked into Scientology and has never been heard from again.
My favorite film of Kubrick's is the one where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon.
thanks, R31. I enjoyed that little interview. Agree with R44.
(Ok R9 and others - I can really sense and pick up on sexual and friendly chemistry - and the opposite - in person, but on screen [not talking about prons over here]. Can somebody, anybody, recommend a good classic film where the chemistry is undeniable, even palpable such that a dolt like me will get it? Thanks)
R44 I reluctantly agree. Nicole Kidman either really is a likeable person or she just knows how to play the game better than most.
Usually it's men who emerge from these cow pies smelling like a rose.
r31 - She stiffens up when asked about her marriage with TC and looks like she's barely concealing rage when asked about Scientology. That much was obvious even through her jacked up face. (Doesn't she have anyone in her life who can tell her how freakish she looks? Especially the lips. Never mess with the lips.)
[quote]Can somebody, anybody, recommend a good classic film where the chemistry is undeniable
Yes, and it's an odd choice: Queen Christina, with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert.
I was surprised, the first time I saw it, that old movies could get away with so much innuendo and sensuality.
If Garbo was a lesbian, as is commonly believed, this is quite a testament to her acting skills.
By other accounts, she and Gilbert had been involved years before, but were only friends by the time this was filmed. Of course, both versions could be true...
OK, now back to EWS...
(R53, thank you.)
[quote]If Garbo was a lesbian, as is commonly believed, this is quite a testament to her acting skills.
Right r53. Because gay actors can only play gay roles convincingly.
I recall reading that Kubrick was obsessed with trying to make an art-house blockbuster. (He ruefully regarded the numbers usually achieved by his friendly rival Spielberg.)
To square that circle he hired Cruise and Kidman. Allegedly Kubrick later said to R Lee Ermey, "The fact is, they've ruined my movie."
Kidman's OK, but Cruise is only bearable if you see him as designedly the schmuck at the table. Half the time he doesn't know what to do with his arms, so folds them.
I'll still return to the film, because it's Kubrick, and I love the obsessive production design. I dislike the ending, but plenty of other scenes survive Cruise and stay in the memory.
F Raphael's little book about working with Kubrick on the screenplay, "Eyes Wide Open", is a good read.
Pollack was simply superb in the film and the whole thing seems like a recalled dream. The greenery yellowy lighting was masterful. The initiation scene wasnt as unsettling as it was meant to be unfortunately. And given it was filmed in the Earl of Iveagh's house which World of Interiors had featured detailing the staff challenge of de-mothing hundreds of persian carpets, it somewhat stripped the mystery away for me!
[quote]Polanski's similar "The Ninth Gate" is far more entertaining and has a more interesting storyline.
Agreed with R11 about the mood, though "The Ninth Gate" is a disappointing Polanski film (a decent actor in place of Depp might have made a big difference.)
Kubrick was one of a few directors who regarded actors --especially big name actors-- as the least elements in his films, and seemed to have regarded casting as a dare.
In casting Ryan O'Neal in Barry Lyndon, the formula managed to succeed; but even trying to view Cruise's performance dispassionately, I don't think it worked it "Eyes Wide Shut". Cruise comes across as an actor anxious to please his director, and never gets past that to a convincing portrayal of a rattled character responding to the plot and other characters around him.
I was just pissed Tom didn't show more nudity. wimp!
I agree with Diana Ross, it's intriguing. There are some slow passages, but overall it holds the viewer. I like the part where Nicole says "Do you like seeing their little titties?" or whatever.
[quote]Kubrick always did a lot of takes, it wasn't just on EWS and not specifically to torture Nicole Kidman. Just ask Shelley Duvall.
Exactly, this crap took a year to shoot, A YEAR. There was absolutely no pay off or justification for it except Kubrick was batshit crazy.
Dodged a big bullet there.
Is it true Keitel was fired because he jizzed on Nicole during a take?
It was said Keitel was hired to play Ziegler (Pollack's role).
Jennifer Jason Leigh was also cast at one point.
I have read the entire film - the cast, marketing, posters, media anticipation and eventual story - was structured to create the effect of a failed sexual act, much like Cruise's character's failed sexual adventuring.
This was intentional, it is said, to show the disorienting, distracting and fruitless rewards of pursuing lust, not love. The leads' lack of chemistry was utilized, probably without their knowing, to create the embalmed atmosphere.
The film is about power, not sex.
[quote]Is it true Keitel was fired because he jizzed on Nicole during a take? It was said Keitel was hired to play Ziegler (Pollack's role).
My GAWD, that's nasty!
The Ninth Gate is a masterpiece compared to EWS. It's everything that EWS promised to be but didn't deliver on.
The character Keitel would have played only has a brief scene where he meets Kidman. How would he have jizzed on her?
Keitel and JJL (who played the daughter of the dead man who confesses her love of Cruise) shot all of their scenes and were later replaced. I believe neither was available for reshoots, at least that is what happened with JJL. With Keitel, IIRC Kubrick wanted to cast someone who wasn't as overtly sinister and didn't buy Keitel as a high powered member of the upper crust.
It needed more of the hot, hot sailor boy who Kidman saw in the hotel lobby and fantasized about.
That whole monologue is a classic piece of cinema, she is really great in that scene. You can picture the whole scenario in your mind eventhough you never actually see what happened.
Funny moment - the jock smacking his bro's ass to mock Tom Cruise's perceived queerness:
"PRIME CUT OF MEAT, BABY!!!"
It's a movie that has some good things in it, but it feels like it is missing something
Watch "Schindler's List" if you want everything spelled out for you r70.
No, I'm the opposite, R71 - I'm someone who likes artistic, experimental, dreamy, subtle movies - it should have gone more in that direction.
Wow - you don't consider it a dreamlike film? It was based on an Austrian novella for god's sake.
[quote]It was based on an Austrian novella for god's sake
Well, that says it all, doesn't it?
I really like Ty West's House of the Devil.
Only film I ever walked out on.
It's a movie that revealed the activities of the Illuminati. Stanley Kubrick paid the ultimate price for revealing a glimpse into the sex/magik rituals of the people who run the world.
Saw it twice in the theater when it came out and loved it. Watched it again recently, and I didn't like it as much as I'd remembered.
What I will say is that it has some of the most bautiful lighting that I have ever seen in a film, along with great art direction and cinematography. But the lighting. Incredible.
Suggestive though that after Kidman's vivid monologue, it's Cruise who we see imagining the idealised sailor in action.