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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)



Reviews and Comments

In this, Stanley Kubrick's last film, Tom Cruise goes through a harrowing and deeply disturbing psychological journey of jealousy and frustration after his wife confesses to harboring an adulterous imagination. He roams the city through the night and finds himself embroiled in increasingly perverse situations. But is what's happening real? Tough to say: the film is deeply expressionistic, somewhat in the way that German films of the 1920s were, where the settings and sometimes even the story is a reflection of the main character's state of mind. To ask if the film's events are real or not is to miss the point: they are real enough to Cruise's character, whose jealousy puts him through every detail of his ordeal.

Cruise's wife, played by Nicole Kidman (also his real-life wife at the time), is absent for most of the film, but her character is the reason for the film. Her appearance in the final scene is critical. Now Cruise has emerged from his journey. Have his fears and insecurities carried him too far?

Kubrick's movies are often called cold and dispassionate. Perhaps, but Eyes Wide Shut demonstrates an uncanny perception of the way our own minds can run away with us. Surely that much understanding indicates a little compassion, too?