Eyes wide shut is without doubt, a remarkable feat in virtusos film-makng by one of cinema's true greats. The more time passes, one can feel the hole left in cinema by the absence of Stanley Kubrick, an auteur of technical mastery of film, he is one of the true masters of film directing. Over the years he has contributed so much to cinema, in turn shaping the way we view films. Who can forget the voice of Hal in 2001: a space odyssey? The monolith in the desert? The bone turning into a spaceship via one of the greatest jump cuts composed on film? Blood gushing out of the lift doors in The Shining? These images have been seered on our minds. They are iconic images, images that will last throughout celluloid history.
Many regarded Eyes Wide Shut as Kubricks folly when it first came out, a vanity project that backfired. But as time passes, we have come to realise that the opposite is true. Indeed, it is one of my favourite Kubrick films altogether! We have everything that is a trademark of Kubrick, the coldness, the bravura tracking shots, the detail. But what one fails to realise is that his last movie was not only an erotic, psychological masterpiece. There is more to the film than meets the eyes!
Our protagonist (Tom Cruise) goes walkabout one night in New York after an 'argument' with his wife (Nicole Kidman). He encounters some odd characters on his travels. A prostitute who is not all she appears to be, some odd people at a costume shop. He then bumps into an old friend in a jazz club, who gives him a card with a secret password to a private 'party'. He goes there draped in the compulsory costume and enters a gothic, sexually charged dangerous world. This scene is my favourite throughout the film. The music is truly remarkable, it is like a masonic chant that captivates the viewer. I was simply in awe of this music and the scene of people in masks, engaged in all manner of sexual debauchery while others watch. But this is where you need to stay alert because it is not just a 'party' for grown ups, it is a sort of ritual. A sisniter masonic ritual. Our hero is found out and his life in danger, but a woman exchanges her life for his. He leaves but is followed by shadowy men. He wants to look moreinto this matter but is stopped by unseen forces. Towards the end he is given a note with a threat on his life. He goes home to his wife, truly shaken from his experiences and realises the value of his relationship with his wife. Then an immortal line is uttered (which i will not repeat!) that sums up what he has been missing.
On the outside this film seems like one man's sexual awakening, but there are more deeper issues at play. And one needs to keep their eyes wide open to see the true message. Anyhow, this is my thought on what i feel the story really is about; Look at the people present at the party, we see Cruise's doctor friend, people in high positions gathered here. It is a secret society akin to the Illuminati (though they remain nameless in the film). Our hero unwittingly discovers their rituals and his life is in danger henceforth. He is warned by his doctor friend not to be too inquisitive. He is followed by sinister men who keep an eye on him. Finally threatened. This is where the title of the film is most relevant, because even us the viewer watch this film oblivious to the true nature of the story! Our eyes are wide shut. And what this film is aking us is to open our eyes, and see the true meaning of this film. Its not (all) about sexual awakenings ,its also a warning to our everyman Cruise of the dangers of asking too many questions, and a brief insight into the sinister world of secret societies!
In conclusion, Eyes Wide Shut is a masterpiece!