Friday, March 14, 2008

An Essay of Eyes Wide Shut

On Friday, July 16, 1999, at approximately high noon, I was in the theater awaiting Stanley Kubrick's swan song, the sexual odyssey known as Eyes Wide Shut.

There were about five other people in the only Columbus theater to house the film. Having taken the day off of work, I was a bit shocked at the low-turnout to say the least.

After the movie, I was bemused and a bit exhausted. Yet exhilarated. It felt like I ran a marathon...with my eyes. It was a pure Kubrick film: Undefinable, Uncategorical and Uninhibited.

Then came the negative reviews. Then came Tom Cruise fans bashing the film. Then came the film's quick exit from the theaters and onto DVD oblivion.

However, after the initial viewing, I still can't get the images, the dialogue and overall mystique of Eyes Wide Shut out of my head. Even today, momentary images of the film shoot through my brain on almost a daily basis including:

  • A panty-clad Nicole Kidman discussing her sexual fantasy

  • The two hot models who want to take Cruise over the rainbow

  • The overdosed nude lady sprawled on a couch

  • Nick Nightengale and the password Fidelio

  • The invitation-only sex party

  • The masquerade mask on the pillow

  • The creepy piano score throughout the film

  • And many, many more

  • Eight years later, my feelings haven't changed about the film. I think Eyes Wide Shut is still a work of genius. I love the pacing. I love the cinematography. I love the tone. I love the sexual dirtiness of it all.

    To be honest, there isn't too much about the film that I don't like made by, arguably, the best filmmaker that has ever lived.

    So, imagine my surprise when I came across this in-depth essay on the film by Jamie Stuart on

    If you're a fan of the movie, I would strongly recommend you read this. Stuart attempts to peel away the film to its bare bones and talks about why this remarkable, yet misunderstood, film was overlooked by a bevy of critics, film lovers and fans of Kubrick.

    Whether you agree or disagree with Stuart's insight, it's a very interesting read nonetheless.

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