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Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

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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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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482 ( 90)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Milich (as Rade Sherbedgia)
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Sandor Szavost (as Sky Dumont)
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Carl
Madison Eginton ...
Helena Harford
Jackie Sawiris ...
Roz
Leslie Lowe ...
Illona Ziegler
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Bandleader
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Storyline

After his wife, Alice, tells him about her sexual fantasies, William Harford sets out for a night of sexual adventure. After several less than successful encounters, he meets an old friend, Nick Nightingale - now a musician - who tells him of strange sex parties when he is required to play the piano blindfolded. All the men at the party are costumed and wear masks while the women are all young and beautiful. Harford manages to find an appropriate costume and heads out to the party. Once there, however, he is warned by someone who recognizes him, despite the mask, that he is in great danger. He manages to extricate himself but the threats prove to be quite real and sinister. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Cruise. Kidman. Kubrick.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug-related material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

16 July 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

EWS  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$21,706,163 (USA) (16 July 1999)

Gross:

$55,637,680 (USA) (1 October 1999)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman film where they actually play a married couple, which they actually were. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Bill Harford leaves Domino's apartment the second time after meeting Sally, her roommate, he is shown walking down a Manhattan street and passes buildings with numerical address 36, 37 and 38, all on the same side of the street. However, in New York City, even numbers are always on one side of the street and odd numbers are always on the other side. He could not have passed the street addresses 36, 37, and 38 on the same side of the street. In fact, an earlier scene on the same street shows an address 25 on the opposite side (shown when Dr. Bill Harford notices that he is being followed by a man). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Bill Harford: Honey, have you seen my wallet?
Alice Harford: Isn't it on the bedside table?
Dr. Bill Harford: Now listen, you know we're running a little late.
Alice Harford: I know. How do I look?
Dr. Bill Harford: Perfect.
Alice Harford: Is my hair okay?
Dr. Bill Harford: It's great.
Alice Harford: You're not even looking at it.
Dr. Bill Harford: It's beautiful. You always look beautiful.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the staff of Hamleys of London. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm in the Mood for Love
(1935)
Performed by The Victor Silvester Orchestra
Courtesy of Castle Copyrights Ltd
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Published by Famous Music Corporation
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Limp story-telling wrapped up as semi-intellectual nonsense
20 September 1999 | by (Oxford, England) – See all my reviews

And so the last chapter of the Kubrick enigma is written. Trouble is, the real enigma is why anyone thought there was one to start with.

There is a danger that Eyes Wide Shut will become, as Kubrick's last movie and the one he died making, some sort of cinematic Holy Grail, immune to all criticism. But it deserves to be said: this is a bad film. Story is glossed over with ambiguity and characterisation eliminated for, well, nothing in particular.

The primary problem is that it is a film lacking in any direction whatsoever

  • by the mid-way point it could have turned into an excellent thriller, or


gone in another direction and been an equally compelling look at the two main character's relationship with each other. Indeed, it spent two hours building up both of these plots, but failed to deliver on either. Instead, it wandered off for the last hour in no particular direction and consistently failed to expand any of its ideas into anything resembling a plot-line, ending with a insultingly limp coda where everything was forgotten, forgiven and plastered over. It is as if halfway through, Kubrick changed his mind about what the film was about and then changed it back again for the last half hour, leaving neither element explored to any great degree.

Like most of Kubrick's films, the characters are bland, narrow and un-engaging; Tom Cruise's character bumbles from one unrelated event to the next, purely on the motivation that he feels the need to cheat on his marriage because he misjudged his wife's ability to fantasise. There is no structure to his movements through the film. It's all rather aimless. It's all rather pointless. His breakdown at the end is all the more ridiculous because he didn't actually do anything except spend a hideous amount of money not doing it. If this is an accurate analysis of relationships in the nineties, heaven help us all.

The one sub-plot that actually promises to engage any interest - a piano player friend has a job at a party that Cruise contrives to sneak into - is presented in a manner worthy of Hitchcock. The resulting party is suitably weird and has a darkly threatening conclusion. Another twenty minutes are spent turning the screws up a notch or two further. You reach a point where you are genuinely on the edge of your seat and then the whole thing fizzles out, to be left with the feeling that surely that can't be all there is to it? Maybe you have to tune in again next week for the second part...

What we are left with is an hour in the middle of the film that was completely unnecessary to the relationship of the two main protagonists, which seems to have been the main point of the film. All it serves is to inject a little weirdness into what would otherwise have been a rather banal story about the sexual jealousies of two spoiled middle-class New Yorkers. But even this isn't taken anywhere really interesting. Instead of seeing the characters under a microscope, you feel as if you watching them from the wrong end of a pair of binoculars. Any interest comes from your own desperate attempts to bring the various plot points together in some sort of cohesion.

Most frustratingly, the film is littered with well-rounded, interesting characters and ideas and, like all Kubrick films, is beautifully shot. But this simply isn't enough to make it a compelling piece of cinema. Like 2001, A Clockwork Orange and the second half of Full Metal Jacket, there is no emotional attachment to the subject - everything is presented rather coldly and clinically; even the griminess of the hooker's apartment doesn't feel that grimy. It may as well have been a documentary on fungal nail infection. The wonderful and intriguing characters - the Hungarian playboy, the neurotic and repressed daughter of one of Cruise's patients - are discarded after a single scene each. They are not taken any further. It's all a bit of a cheat, really.

Like Peter Selllars in Dr Strangelove, Jack Nicholson in The Shining, or Vincent D'Onforio in Full Metal Jacket, this film needed an actor with enough personal charisma and confidence in himself to still shine through after Kubrick's relentless directorial hammering. Instead, the entire cast go through the motions like clockwork, like someone who has said the same word over and over so many times that it no longer has any relation to its meaning. Two performances leave an impression: Alan Cummings, who has played his role so often he can slip into it effortlessly; the other is from Rade Serbedzija, who hams it up wonderfully. The rest, most disappointingly Sidney Pollack, simply glide through the film, leaving no trace of their passing.

It is human nature to try to make sense of something so pointless - let's face it, you've paid your money and you want to know what you've spent it on. The danger is that this excruciatingly blank canvas will become painted over with a lot of semi-intellectual twaddle, as self-appointed interpreters of the film preach to the countless poor souls who sat for two hours wondering when the film was going to start and the third hour in the sinking realisation that it was almost over. To say that you "get what you put in", or that "the pointlessness *is* the point" is a pathetic apology for a film with no idea what it wants to be.


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