Eyes Wide Shut Review and Blu-ray Features
Eyes Wide Shut
16 July 1999
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Shot at Pinewood Studios
Due to Stanley Kubrick’s fear of travel virtually the entire film was shot in and near London (despite the movie’s New York setting). Elaborate street sets built at Pinewood Studios were used for all the scenes showing Tom Cruise walking around the city.
Was Kidman’s character one of the masked woman?
I only ask because of the second dream she describes to Tom?
Nah she wasn’t….but Bill secretly wanted her to be.
Couples have a certain..shining thing that goes on…subconsciously.
what kubrick was trying to say?
Kubrick was saying we all wear the masks. That it is part of who we are and what we do and there is perhaps hope for us if we dare to take them off.
When Bill says, “Forever….”
When Bill says, “Forever” to Alice and she says, “Let’s not use that word. It frightens me,” does anyone else feel like their marriage is doomed… despite the sex…?
That’s good answer, I agree.
What’s the deal with the costume shop owner’s daughter? She was caught messing around with those two guys, and then the next day they were leaving like everything was okay? Also what was going on with the shop owner the next day, was he suggesting she was a hooker and he (Bill) could buy her company?
It is implied that the two Asian businessmen had paid off Mr. Milich not to report them to the police, and he had decided to pimp his daughter after that.
Who put the mask on Bill’s pillow in bed next to his wife? Did she find it and then leave it there to confront him?
In the novella the doctor assumes that his wife found the mask. She may have discovered it lying around after it was accidentally misplaced by Bill. Realizing something was up, she left it on his pillow so that he’d find it. Knowing she knew, he’d have no choice but to tell her, or perhaps she felt it would make it easier for him to explain.
Within the context of the film, another possible interpretation is that there is no mask on the pillow. It’s not really there. It is a purely symbolic way to show Bill’s realization that he can never forget or leave behind his near-infidelity. It is something that will go to bed with him forever. Every night he lays his head down, there it will be.
A third interpretation is that the masked orgy-goers had sent someone to enter the apartment and left the mask there as a threat and a warning to Bill not to interfere with them again. Note: when Bill is forced to take off his mask at the masked party/orgy he holds onto it for the rest of the scene. But in the next scene when he arrives home, the mask is nowhere to be seen, and no explanation is ever given as to whether Bill took the mask home with him, or dropped it on his way out of the mansion.
What is Eyes Wide Shut actually about?
Eyes Wide Shut is based on the novella “Traumnovelle”, by Arthur Schnitzler. It deals with sexual obsession between two couples in Vienna, Austria. Kubrick has updated the story to present day New York City, with Cruise and Kidman playing Dr. William and Alice Harford, the two principals. Dr. Harford becomes shocked and almost ruined when he learns that Alice had an erotic fantasy about a man that she had seen during a family holiday in Cape Cod; as he wanders the street late at night, he grapples with his desire for revenge by sleeping with another woman. As many would have figured out, there is an infamous orgy Harford attends. He hears about it from Nick, an old friend from medical school who had dropped out and become a pianist. The movie follows Harford as he agonizes over both what his wife had told him and his feelings of jealousy, rage, and revenge. This whole issue takes on a deeper meaning, since, in real life Cruise and Kidman were actually married (from 1990 until 2001).
Some have stated they believe that Bill’s sexual adventures (after the party) were part of a bizarre dream. Others have conjured deeper meanings, such as that the orgy was a Satanic cult, out to overthrow Bill. Nonetheless, Eyes Wide Shut is a very symbolic and metaphorical film. For example, the password for the orgy is “Fidelio,” a word that points at the theme of marital fidelity, but does not indicate clearly that Bill’s journey might be a dream. Fidelio is also the name of the only opera by Beethoven, which tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named “Fidelio,” rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison.
why so many Christmas lights?
It seemed they were in every scene in every room besides the mansion. Even on every post throughout the streets.
Was there some symbolism about that or Kubrick just into the Xmass spirit.
I thought the christmas lights represented the prevalent theme of the rainbow. If you remember at the beginning of the film, at the party of Zeigler, the two girls tell Tom Cruise that they want to take him to the end of the rainbow. We see the rainbow again at the costume shop which was named Rainbow fashions. The rainbow represents Bill’s sexual fantasy and desires. The Christmas lights were made up of all the colors of the rainbow and I think they represented the symbol of the rainbow, which appears when sexual situations occur in the movie. For example we see the rainbow lights in the hookers apartment. We also see them in the doctors office where his wife suggested that he desires his patients when he squeezes their tits. Among other things in the movie it was another symbol for sexual fantasy.
The Christmas lights invoke a sense of surrealism which ties into the whole idea of fantasies which is obviously a huge theme of the film……..and they’re pretty to look at and make the film visually interesting.
People have tendencies to analyze Stanley Kubrick’s films to insanely minute details because Kubrick is renowned for his insanely meticulous attention to detail. But I still think people often overanalyze his films.
Any thought on at the end of the movie right before Cruise discovers the mask on the pillow, he is walking toward his lit up Christmas tree, and for the first time in the movie, he turns off the lights
RT/Meta Critic Review
Kubrick stirs so many visual wonders and intellectual quandaries into the mix that the result is strangely mesmerizing and unsettlingly unforgettable. (Click here to see)
This is finally a film that is better at mood than substance, that has its strongest hold on you when it’s making the least amount of sense.(Click here to see)
Kubrick is exploring a dark subject matter to be sure in Eyes Wide Shut, and that may have influenced the incessantly shadowy look of the film. Unfortunately the visual quality of this 1080p VC-1 encoded Blu-ray is too drenched in a soft presentation, with inconsistent black levels, to ever rise to the level of what most high def aficionados expect. That said, there really isn’t much source material to work with in the first place. The best scenes in the film are the opening, lighter ones, where the palette is diverse and very well saturated. Once we get into the laborious trek of Harford through a night’s worth of increasingly tormented visions, the film is bleak, desaturated, and overly grainy quite a bit of the time. Detail can still be exceptional, especially in close-ups, where faces are briskly clear and well defined, but the overall look of this film too often disintegrates into a sort of mushy blandness, with washed out fuzziness being the norm, at least for the central episodes of the film.
Likewise, there’s very little source material to support the uncompressed PCM 5.1 mix. This is one of the most resolutely non-immersive tracks in recent memory, with surround effects you can basically count on the fingers of one hand. Even the opening party scene is weirdly anchored in the front channels, and only very occasionally do either music or foley effects ever penetrate the rear or side surround channels. All of that said, dialogue is clear and directional, and the score, consistent in the best Kubrick tradition of both classical pieces and standards, is well mixed into the proceedings. Fidelity is excellent, with good dynamic range and no distortion or other problems to report.
Several good to excellent extras are included in this release:
- The Last Movie: Stanley Kubrick and ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (SD, 43:08). This is a somewhat misleading title for an overall effective British television documentary, as the piece delves as much into the long development of A.I.(finally finished by Spielberg, of course) as it does into its putative subject matter. There is, however, a lot of really fascinating footage of the Kubrick home, including very rare interviews with his family members.
- Lost Kubrick: The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick (SD, 20:19), is a really interesting look at several projects Kubrick labored on but was never able to bring to completion.
- Directors’ Guild of America Award Speech (SD, 4:04), finds Kubrick waxing philosophical (pun intended) about Icarus.
- Interviews of around 35 minutes total are offered with Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
Trailers and tv spots are also included.