Dr. Bill Strangelove
Eyes Wide Shut
Review by Ross Anthony

I heard that some people liked this film. I was not one of them.

Kidman and Cruise play a rich married couple tempted by seductive notions of infidelity. Kidman's character is intoxicated (alcohol and later marijuana) for the first 50% of her performance, then she's awkwardly cold sober for the finish. Cruise is smashing, as always ... but great performances seem a bit of a waste in absence of a solid script.

Cruise plays an M.D. and ever-trusting husband that Kidman desperately wants to make jealous. Towards that goal, she tells of a poking incident in their past. But, to make that tale really poking we needed to see Cruise's rock solid trust in her earlier on (not just hear of it). Perhaps a knowing glance from Cruise while Kidman danced with a debonair gentleman would have done the trick.

There were some outstanding performances by secondary actors. Notable as well, was the cinematography. Shot with a bit of a grain through a softening filter to give the lights an eerie glow, care was also taken to balance rich primary colors nicely.

As for the odd script, I think there may have been some big schematic symbolism -- as if the whole movie had been an analogy for ... I don't know -- because if there was, I sure didn't get it. And although there were a few (very few) good lines; most were stock, predictable, or less than memorable. I may have tolerated the tediously slow build up if the payoff was shocking; though the theme was a good one, the real shocker is that there was no payoff.

As for the hot steamy sex ... there really wasn't much of that either; just a lot of naked women (although cruise has his shirt off as often as possible). Perhaps since the primaries were two of the sexiest people alive having meaningful lovemaking in the opening sequences, and because they are married in real life -- we regular folks might find empathy concerning infidelity temptations a strain.

Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Frederic Raphael.
Directed and Produced by Stanley Kubrick at Warner Brothers.
Rated R.


Copyright © 1999 Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:12:06 PDT