“Eyes Wide Shut” was promoted as a steamy, suspenseful movie starring the “It” couple of the day: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. While the actors were prominently featured in the movie, it is everything around them that told the true story of “Eyes Wide Shut”. Stanley Kubrick’s attention to detail and symbolism gave the movie an entire other dimension – one that cannot be seen by those who have their eyes wide shut.
I remember when I first watched Eyes Wide Shut, back in 1999. I remember, I was not impressed at all. I didn’t like how slow everything was, or how Nicole Kidman tried to sound drunk or high and was boring seeing Tom Cruise walk around New York looking concerned (I did enjoy watching those lovely semi-nude or nude bodies during the ritual though!!! Reading the critics of that time, I guess I reacted the same way: “This movie is boring and there is nothing hot about it.” Almost 15 years later, equipped with a little more knowledge and patience, after haven’t seen the movie a couple more times (got to admit, seeing the naked tits of Kidman is not something you see every day!!!), it blew my mind. In fact, an entire book could be written about the movie and the concepts it addresses. Eyes Wide Shut is indeed not simply about a relationship, it is about all of the outside forces and influences that define that relationship. It is about the eternal back-and-forth between the male and female principles in a confused and decadent modern world. Also, more importantly, it is about the group that rules this modern world – a secret elite that channels this struggle between the male and female principles in a specific and esoteric matter.
The movie however does not spell out anything. Like all great art, messages are communicated through subtle symbols and mysterious riddles. Does it also give a politic message to us all about the reality we every day face and we choose not to see and revert it? Think about that too!!!
I read that Stanley Kubrick unexpectedly died only five days after submitting the final cut of the movie to Warner Bros, making Eyes Wide Shut his swan song. Considering the fact that Eyes Wide Shut is about an occult secret society that eliminates those who cross its path, I came across to some theories arose about Kubrick’s death and its suspicious nature. Did he reveal to the public too much, too soon?
The stars of Eyes Wide Shut were the “It” couple of 1999: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Those who were expecting (as I did!!) the movie to be a sort of voyeuristic experience showing hot scenes of the couple were probably very disappointed. The audience rather got a cold, egoistic and profoundly unsatisfied couple, one that seems to be tied together not by pure love, but by other factors, like convenience and appearances (something that appears a lot on couples in real life, some of them manage to carry on, most of them choose the way of divorce and follow different paths on their lives). While the couple is very “modern” and “upper-class”, are the forces that keep it together the result of basic, primal and almost animalistic behavior? Isn’t it common, if we look at the instinctive behavior of humans and animals, males primarily look for females that have good child-bearing qualities while females look for a strong provider? That’s not the rule of course, but remnants of this behavior still exist today as males tend to display wealth and power to attract females while females showcase their beauty to attract males. In Eyes Wide Shut, the couple perfectly follows that instinctive script.
The good doctor Bill, as in dollar bill, waves his money or his “doctor badge” at people several times during the movie, to get them to do what he wants. Being a part of the upper class, his dealings with people of the lower class are often resolved with money.
Alice lost her job in the art world and is now fully supported by her husband’s salary. While she lives very comfortably, Alice appears to be extremely bored with her life as a stay at home mother. A privileged girl who is bored with her life and who goes “through the looking glass” grooming herself or looking for different answers to her boring life.
It is obvious that the couple shows signs of fatigue so both of them put on their “happy masks” when it is time to attend social events, just like the elite people they socialize with where there is a big difference between the facade they put on and reality. I wonder if those “happy masks” are used by people more often nowadays …