After learning his wife once nearly cheated on him, a doctor embarks
on a journey of sexual discovery that takes him down a strange path.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Written by Stanley Kubrick and Frederic Raphael
Starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Todd Field, Vinessa Shaw, Rade Serbedzija, Marie Richardson, Sky du Mont
Based on the novella Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler
It infuriates me beyond belief that Eyes Wide Shut was Stanley Kubrick's final film. The man who gave us such masterpieces as Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and The Shining turned in this Freudian train wreck as his swan song. This film is a travesty compared to his other work. It has no plot, no driving force, and uses sex as a substitute for story. While it does contain some solid performance work from Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Sydney Pollack, they never come close to redeeming this film. These days, it is remembered solely for its giant orgy party, which of course is never explained or elaborated on, despite the entire second half of the film relying on figuring out just what the hell was going on.
Tom Cruise is a doctor in a seemingly happy marriage with Nicole Kidman. When his wife admits that she once nearly cheated on him, Cruise is understandably jealous and goes for a midnight walk. On his walk, he falls into one increasingly outlandish sexual encounter after another, eventually leading the orgy party I mentioned above. However, seeing as he crashed that party, the partygoers turn on him and threaten to destroy his life if he ever investigates them further. What should have been the most interesting part of the movie peters out faster than you can say "sex party," and no sort of resolution is made. Few things bother me more than loose ends, and Kubrick seems to leave his fair share of them.
By the film's end, the audience is left to assume that the events they witnessed were likely a nightmare of sorts, or a metaphor for his marriage, I suppose. I guess we'll never know, as the film ends rather abruptly after a tacked-on reconciliation that doesn't match the tone of the rest of the film. There's just nothing keeping this one together. It unravels faster than Cruise and Kidman's marriage, likely due to the toxic mixture of Scientology and Stanley Kubrick's intense direction.