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.
In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan.
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
Sexual jolts disrupt Manhattan physician Bill Harford's equilibrium. At an elegant Christmas party, two "models" hit on him, he watches a Lothario try to pick up his tipsy wife, he aids a woman sprawled naked in a bathroom after an overdose. The next night, his wife reveals sexual fantasies with a stranger; a dead patient's daughter throws herself at him; as he walks, brooding, six teen boys hurl homophobic insults at him; a streetwalker takes him to her flat; he interrupts men having a sex party with a girl barely in her teens. His odyssey, which next takes him into a world of wealthy sex play at a masked ball of hedonism, threatens his life, his self-respect, and his marriage. Written by
Eyes Wide Shut is ill-suited for the summer movie corridor. It has no explosions, no running, shouting, or a single gunshot. What it has are long scenes in which characters talk to one another. Slowly and carefully. The problem is that the film is marketed as having white-hot sex scenes and plenty of gratuitous nudity, while it has neither. There is plenty of naked flesh, don't get me wrong, but in exactly the opposite way that the ads make it appear. This is not a movie about being sexy and naked -- it's a movie about how flesh is just another part of being human, so what is all the fuss about? The marketing campaign is misleading, and led to disappointment in the audience that I saw the movie with, who were just looking for some skin.
The tension in the plot and the issues that the film discusses aren't telegraphed to the audience, they're hinted at in the dialog. There is no neat resolution at the end, life simply goes on. You may watch the whole film and think "that wasn't about anything!" Then think about what you've seen and realize it has a great deal to say.
The film is a meditation on sexuality and how it relates to marriage, death, and money. It's a fascinating commentary on modern life, and a rare movie that dares to examine sex as impassionately as any other issue.
The directing and cinematography alone would be worth the price of admission without the social commentary. The sets are an integral part of the movie; they breathe and glow and live. Kubrick was a master director, and he uses long shots and dissolves to great effect. Cruise and Kidman are at their best, and the supporting cast is also strong. It's Kubrick's magic work with the camera that holds the film together.
All in all, definitely worth seeing for the un-uptight. It's possible to watch this film and actually think about it for hours afterward. That's something you won't get with the Wild, Wild West.
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