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CRUISE & KIDMAN UNDER KUBRICK WITH 'EYES WIDE SHUT'

Cool Poster by Supereye... Should be Official
Some films seem created to be despised and misunderstood. Misunderspised is not a word but fits the subliminally insane, intensely mellow and tortuously strange EYES WIDE SHUT, the last vehicle of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick: starring Tom Cruise as a seemingly perfect Manhattan doctor with a gorgeous wife in Nicole Kidman...

Year Released: 1999
Beginning with a plush (but secretly lush) party thrown by a millionaire initially played by Harvey Keitel...

After which, Tom Cruise called his THE FIRM director (originally an actor), Sydney Pollack who, at the very end of this extremely long theatrical experience, partakes in one of the greatest monologues ever filmed, both men playing a game of fancy red-velvet pool while discussing a place that Cruise's love-torn Dr. William Harford should not have gone; a sort of demonic, masked orgy with a reoccurring chant that might be one of the most intentionally annoying scenes of all time, saved only by that 11th hour Cruise/Pollock cool-to-hot conversation that still doesn't fully explain why the seemingly contented doctor ventured out in the first place: making SHUT a three-hour modern Noir having to do with a married man's reaction to a story his stoned wife, Kidman's Alice, tells about seeing (yet never actually meeting) the perfect man she would have left her family for...

Sydney Pollock in the best scene
Thus, throughout the night, as Tom Cruise wanders the streets, scored by what sounds like ominous carnival ferris wheel music, where Kubrick, in his working home of England, turned a giant studio into a replica of Manhattan (also including some actual footage), looking dreamlike and surreal as well as gritty and palpable as the best, breeziest moments occur between Cruise and his former med school buddy, Nick Nightingale, played by another director/actor...

And perhaps this would fit more in the trivia section, but Todd Field also dropped out of med school after taking too many meds and listening to Mozart more than studying in the underrated GROSS ANATOMY, starring another Kubrick veteran, FULL METAL JACKET "Pvt. Joker" Matthew Modine.

Todd Field fits the Kubrick mode
Back on track... When Cruises' successful doctor and the opening party's piano-playing Nightingale connect, before their second more important meeting at a jazz club later on, there's an awkward silence followed by a burst of laughter that displays the fabulous ultra-realistic spontaneity of a Kubrick film: he doesn't make his actors go through over one-hundred takes for nothing. Within the long editing process, he'd want as many options as possible to choose from...

Other scenes, though, fail to inhabit such keen, wry realism, perhaps on purpose, or maybe because some characters just aren't that intriguing compared to others, and there are plenty to choose from...

But liken to Kubrick's best work, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, the main character basically survives throughout a yo-yo kind of experience: the adventurous wind-down is fine while the eventual upswing has the same inhabitants cursed, from a fatal disease to death itself, providing a basic lesson of all Film Noir: don't stick your neck out too far where your head doesn't belong...

Box Set DVD Cover
Covering every aspect of the Sexual Experience without seeing much of anything, beyond various shots of nudity as realistic, everyday occurrences (of course, the orgy aside), what the haunted doctor imagines about his wife and her mysterious lover in EYES WIDE SHUT, and his failed attempts at sexual revenge is to fornication what CHINATOWN is to that particular city...

So it's no surprise, with such a long run time and a subliminal feeling that Kubrick just might have been purposefully torturing both his fans who waited over a decade after FULL METAL JACKET for another movie, or the myriad of Cruise/Kidman followers... in-between, trying to develop A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, which would be posthumously finished by colleague Steven Spielberg, whose JURASSIC PARK gave Kubrick the vision that A.I. could actually work using likewise computer-animation... these EYES are either despised or beloved, or somewhere lost within a convoluted, unexplained purgatory...

It really all depends on how you look at it, what mood you're in while watching, and how much, after attempting, perhaps, several viewings, the realization that everything means nothing but the final blunt words uttered by Kidman: basically telling us that what supposedly makes the world go 'round is really no big deal at all, despite the fact we spent a very long time completely immersed around its dark, seedy, provocative outskirts.

Doctor and the ladies in this weird dream world flick
RATING: ***1/2
TRIVIA: Heard yet not seen thanks to a mask, Leon Vitali, who was the young protagonist in another Kubrick epic, BARRY LYNDON... that, like EYES WIDE SHUT, has a love-hate relationship with both critics and audiences alike, and was Kubrick's assistant thereafter... plays the role of the "leader" at the chanting party where Cruise is found out, and asked, very grimly, to exit the premises. And just to note, upon leaving the theater after seeing this movie for the first time, it was utterly, thoroughly despised but slowly grew on this particular Kubrick Freak... although there is sporadic use of the fast-forward button either to avoid, or to get to, particular scenes.
Tom Cruise with Domino played by "Ladybugs" teen starlet Vinessa Shaw another anti-conquests of the long night
EX-BEAUTY QUEEN IN HOTEL DRUGS OVERDOSE... Is Drugs a Verb or was this an intentional, subliminal error?
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