Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

IMDb plot summary: A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Sydney Pollack.

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead for this one.)

Stanley Kubrick and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. I really love two of his movies (Lolita and A Clockwork Orange), really hate a third (Barry Lyndon), and then all his others I love half of and hate half of. (Cut out the second half of Full Metal Jacket and you have an amazing movie.)

This one falls into that last category. Kubrick does an incredible job showing the dark path of jealousy and where it leads, and I found the first hour or so of the film incredibly compelling... and then there's this bizarre plot with a secret cultish orgy farm that may or may not have actually happened and may or may not be murdering people. For me, the deliberate ambiguity about how much of this is reality or not seriously hurt the underlying message of the story. Every time the subject of this weird orgy cult came up, I found myself rolling my eyes. It was so outlandish and yet set in such a realistic setting that I could accept it neither as an actual plot nor as pure fantastic symbolism.

Also, I have to mention how much I hated the soundtrack. Its repetitiveness and its melodramatic nature worked against it, and by the end of the film I got aggressively annoyed every time that stupid tune started playing.

What could have been a powerful psychological drama about human nature falls apart for me. 2.5 stars for what I loved about it, but overall, very disappointing.

Flickchart: #1401 out of 1970, below Rebecca and above Stuart Little.

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