Main cast: Tom Cruise (Dr William Harford), Nicole Kidman (Alice Harford), Sydney Pollack (Victor Ziegler), Marie Richardson (Marion Nathanson), Todd Field (Nick Nightingale), Sky du Mont (Sandor Szavost), Julienne Davis (Amanda “Mandy” Curran), Thomas Gibson (Carl Thomas), and Madison Eginton (Helena Harford)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Eyes Wide Shut is banned in Singapore shortly after its world premiere, so excuse me if I have to watch this via less-than-legal means. This pirated copy found after a lot of hard work scouring the backstreets of Chinatown, is an exciting find. Psychological erotic drama! Tom Cruise naked! Nicole Kidman naked! Orgies! Okay, no one cares about the naked Tom Cruise part much, because we are all philistines.
Thirty minutes down the movie I have to nudge my hubby from his snoring (it had been a hard day’s work). He nudged me ten minutes later. An hour later we are all giggling like silly dizzy kids over Tom Cruise’s supposedly necrophiliac tendencies (it comes out hilarious). And by the end of the day, we agreed that Eyes Wide Shut is as sexy as a tub of coleslaw.
Now, I’m still not sure about the story except that it’s about Doc Willy wanting to cheat on wifey who dreams of cheating on hubby in between attending staged Dionysian party. Conversation is slow, awkward, and sometimes it takes people what seemed like hours just to walk across the room. And poor Mr Cruise. Try as he might, he just can’t cut it as a Doc. His toothpaste-poster-boy grin is too wholesome, his all-American-flyboy good looks too jock-like to convey an air of … well, doctorhood. And my, my, for a doctor, Willy has so much free time to poke around orgies and attend parties where coke runs free. I guess in Movieland doctors have no night shift, nothing. Nice.
Nicole Kidman is fine, and I always believe she is underrated as an actress. Her Alice positively smoulders with an intriguing mix of resentment and fascination for her fantasies. The scene where she watches herself being caressed by Willy in the mirror is a perfect show of… narcissism? Whatever it is, she is a very enigmatic and fascinating character. Too bad Kubrick shoved her aside for more of Willy’s Platonic Adventures through Orgyland.
And about the nudity, let me just say that to all those people complaining that this movie is soft-porn, I have only one thing to say: this movie is so clinical, its portrayal of nudity so cold and unapproachable, it is almost savage in its non-sexy factor. It will make a great celibacy-reinforcement education aid. Kiddies watching this movie will be put off sex for at least ten years. Forget sex manuals, preaching, and pamphlets – make ’em watch this movie and watch them rush for the hair suit and chastity belts.
And under all the supposedly daringness of this movie, it drives home a very conventional, preachy message. Don’t cheat on your spouse – watch what Willy almost got when he got tempted! Prostitutes have AIDS! Sex orgies may cause you your life! You snort coke – you die! After all the hype about pushing the envelope, et cetera, to receive all this preachy messages… sigh. It’s like putting on Advanced Kama Sutra Techniques only to find dear Mother Teresa giving a speech about right living. Quite unexpected, and after all the expectations, I feel rather cheated.
Forget envelope pushing. Stanley Kubrick may be a wonderful director but I see no evidence of it here. In fact, I bet if this movie is directed by one of those French arty-farty folks who always push the envelopes, I’d say it may end up a much better movie.
Eyes Wide Shut? Mine sure did!