July 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Eyes Wide Shut!

Today is the tenth anniversary of the release of one of my favorite films of all time, Stanley Kubrick's final masterpiece, Eyes Wide Shut. I believe it to be one of the single most underrated films ever made. It should be listed right near the top of Kubrick's filmography, with A Clockwork Orange and 2001. It's a monumental achievement. The acting is perfect, with career-best performances from the whole cast, especially Nicole Kidman. Her presence on the screen just exudes elegance and sensuality. Her monologues are particularly excellent, with my favorite being the "confession" monologue about a marine she sees at the hotel on a family vacation. It is worth nothing that Kidman, in 1999, may have been the most beautiful woman ever to walk this Earth. Tom Cruise's performance is great as well. Though it is not even his best work of 1999 (Magnolia), he does an excellent job playing Dr. Bill Harford, a doctor whose curiosity gets the best of him, leading to a bizarre mystery. The "costume party" (READ: orgy) sequence, is one of the most surreal and amazing scenes I have ever seen in a film. It's truly otherworldly. The depravity of the event, which is ritualistic in nature, is at a contrast with the sheer visual beauty of the sequence. I would have been happy if that scene were made into an entire film. The visual work and cinematography here is particularly astonishing, something Kubrick was always known for anyway. This could have been a cheap erotic thriller, but instead, it is a deep, mysterious masterpiece with some great insights and statements about marriage. The film takes several viewings, so that one can absorb and notice all of the details in the film. It is certainly Kubrick's most personal and long-in-gestation film. It is also arguably his best. That's truly an amazing feat -- the best film by the best director of all time. It is well worth keeping your eyes wide open for this masterpiece. 10/10

P.S. I'll be watching again it later today, and intend to write an essay on it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Gah, I love Eyes Wide Shut. It's definitely one of Kubrick's very best. Though I do prefer A Clockwork Orange to it.

  3. I agree, Keegon. I slightly prefer A Clockwork Orange.

  4. "The acting is perfect, with career-best performances from the whole cast."

    "Tom Cruise's performance is great as well. Though it is not even his best work of 1999 (Magnolia)"


  5. Makes sense to me. It's at the very top. It's not Cruise's single best performance, but it's right up there as one of the best (second best, in my opinion) of his career, and he's had some great performances.