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Eyes Wide Shut

Tom Cruise , Nicole Kidman , Stanley Kubrick    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
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It was inevitable that Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut would be the most misunderstood film of 1999. Kubrick died four months prior to its release, and there was no end to speculation how much he would have tinkered with the picture, changed it, "fixed" it. We'll never know. But even without the haunting enigma of the director's death--and its eerie echo/anticipation in the scene when Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) visits the deathbed of one of his patients--Eyes Wide Shut would have perplexed and polarized viewers and reviewers. After all, virtually every movie of Kubrick's post-U.S. career had; only 1964's Dr. Strangelove opened to something approaching consensus. Quite apart from the author's tinkering, Kubrick's movies themselves always seemed to change--partly because they changed us, changed the world and the ways we experienced and understood it. And we may expect Eyes Wide Shut to do the same. Unlike Kubrick himself, it has time.

So consider, as we settle in to live with this long, advisedly slow, mesmerizing film, how challenging and ambiguous its narrative strategy is. The source is an Arthur Schnitzler novella titled Traumnovelle (or "Dream Story"), and it's a moot question how much of Eyes Wide Shut itself is dream, from the blue shadows frosting the Harfords' bedroom to the backstage replica of New York's Greenwich Village that Kubrick built in England. Its major movement is an imaginative night-journey (even the daylight parts of it) taken by a man reeling from his wife's teasing confession of fantasized infidelity, and toward the end there is a token gesture of the couple waking to reality and, perhaps, a new, chastened maturity. Yet on some level--visually, psychologically, logically--every scene shimmers with unreality. Is everything in the movie a dream? And if so, who is dreaming it at any given moment, and why?

Don't settle for easy answers. Kubrick's ultimate odyssey beckons. And now the dream is yours. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

EDITOR'S NOTE: The U.S. (Region 1) DVD release of Eyes Wide Shut presents the film in its R-rated U.S. theatrical version--submitted and approved by Stanley Kubrick per contractual obligation--with digitally inserted figures added to obscure explicit sexual activity during the 65-second orgy scene. At present there are no plans to release the "unaltered" version on DVD in Region 1. Regarding the full-screen format of Eyes Wide Shut on DVD, the official wording on the DVD packaging is as follows: "This feature is presented in the full aspect ratio of the original camera negative, as Stanley Kubrick intended." As with the DVD formatting of The Shining and Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut was matted in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio for theatrical presentation, but the director composed his films in camera to accommodate television broadcast and home video viewing. The official aspect ratio of Eyes Wide Shut on DVD is 1.37:1.

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Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sociology over Psychology June 14 2003
Stanley Kubrick's final and most complicated masterpiece opened to extreme disappointment among reviewers from all over. Critical disappointment with the film was almost unanimous. They claimed that Kubrick was "out of touch with today's jaded sensibilities". However, as has been the case with almost every Kubrick film ever released, the critics, at first, could only see what was not there. The film was, and continues to be, completely and utterly misinterpreted by both the critical and the public eye.
The main themes in Eyes Wide Shut are not those of sex and marriage - now, certainly, the story that is told by the actors alone echoes of these subjects. However, what the actors are doing onscreen more often than not was meant by Kubrick to take second place to the imagery used in the film. And the themes portrayed by the imagery are most certainly not that which mainstream reviews have let on.
So what exactly is Eyes Wide Shut about, then? Not sex. That much should be obvious from the re-appearance of the film's title after the short shot of Nicole Kidman's buttocks (telling us that we're not really seeing what we're seeing). Eyes Wide Shut is about the wealth and power of society - about the upper class. It's about how the elite men in this world manipulate their inferiors and treat them like mere possessions. It is about the mistreatment of women and the lower class, and the source of that mistreatment.
From a single viewing of Eyes Wide Shut one may assume that Nicole Kidman's character has some "power" in her relationship with her husband, that she has some other meaning to him and his acquaintances than an object - a possession. One will see, however, after analyzing the film carefully, that she has no power.
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By Stella Carrier TOP 100 REVIEWER
Eyes Wide Shut (starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) is a movie that brilliantly shows how even the wealthiest couples sometimes go through experiences that test their marriage but can eventually make it stronger. Eyes Wide Shut also communicates many other messages in the movie that one can be the judge of. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play Bill and Alice Hartford. They are an affluent couple that live in Manhattan and are invited to a party hosted by a prosperous lawyer named Victor Ziegler. Viewers are given obvious reason to believe that the party is also going to feature other people who are also doing well in life on a professional/career scale. Anyhow, the character of Bill Hartford becomes concerned when Alice Hartford confesses to have previously fantasized about a naval officer that she saw while they were dining out one night. Her confession is one of the catalysts that indirectly influence him to venture out on his own among events involving him going to a controversial orgy party told to him by an old friend. However, the party is also highly exclusive because it is also a gathering where many powerful and well-known people are going to be at. There is much more to this classic movie for those who are fine with watching suspenseful movies and/or are familiar with either Tom Cruise and/or Nicole Kidman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EWS May 7 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Stanley Kubrick had by then become a recluse in the twilight years of his life that he dedicated to filming this movie. The timing was impeccable as Kubrick had then died shortly after completing this film leaving no unfinished bits. As perhaps a last gift, Kubrick gives us a final completed film which rounds of his stellar resume.

The movie opens as we are let into the private lives of a young New York doctor; a general practitioner named Bill Harford who lives with his wife Alice. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

After a series of life's mundane events which, in the context of living a life and having to one day die, even can seem overwhelming, Bill Harford is driven into the night attempting to assuage the onslaught of the latest demons which life had to offer him, like it seems to offer the rest of us. These demons include his wife admitting that she had fantasies of sleeping with another man.

He attempts to meet one of the women who talked with him the previous night of the party. In order to compensate for his wife's admitted psychic infidelity, he attempts to have an affair, but a phone call from his wife interrupts this. He also learns that the woman he was looking for who was not home had contracted AIDS.
On another night, he ducks into a restaurant and learns from reading a newspaper that his old high school friend and medical school colleague and then dropout was playing at a nearby jazz piano bar.

Meeting his friend, Nick Nightingale, he finds out from Nick about a party in the Hamptons, and it really looks like the Hamptons, but this being a Kubrick movie was inevitably, invariably filmed in England.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing in its emotional complexity July 14 2006
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
I don't think it's possible to truly explain Eyes Wide Shut to anyone who hasn't seen it. For some, it will be too darn weird, far too lengthy, and too abstract and open-ended to be enjoyable. Others, however, will find themselves as fascinated as I was while watching this extraordinary film, especially after it transforms itself into something totally unexpected about midway through. There is a sort of surreal atmosphere around everything that happens here, although I must say I sensed no dreamlike qualities to any parts of it. I really didn't know what to expect going in - besides a bunch of nudity and the whole erotic Cruise-Kidman relationship - but that was a good thing (especially since the movie isn't really about those things). Eyes Wide Shut is so unusual that it's probably better for the viewer to go in with no expectations whatsoever.

I came to this film for Nicole Kidman, just as many probably came to it for Cruise. It's really a Tom Cruise feature, I have to say, with Kidman scoring a lot less screen time than I expected. Now, I love Nicole Kidman, and I was mesmerized by this entire movie, but I don't think this was one of Kidman's better performances. Maybe it's just the fact that racy language coming out of her mouth just doesn't sit right with me, but I was definitely uncomfortable watching Kidman work her way through the more emotional scenes (which seemed a little overdramatic). Cruise, for his part, is great, and the whole supporting cast (including Leelee Sobieski in a small but scintillating role) is excellent.

Bill and Alice Harford have a complex relationship. Following a strange party which finds them each flirting with other people, Alice starts a discussion that ends with her recounting her fantasies about another man.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awsome movie love the secret messages by Kubrick.
Published 16 days ago by marc
5.0 out of 5 stars Open your eyes
True too as the original book, but much more visual. I recommend it,
Published 1 month ago by Catharine
3.0 out of 5 stars The Movie is not impressive, with the exception of the "Ritual"
The Ritual is required watching; in fact I watched it several times. I suspect it's heavily edited, but even so it's a must see. Read more
Published 14 months ago by BG McDonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Kubrick's Final Film is Worth a Look on Blu-Ray
Not to suggest that you can expect to see Kubrick's last film in a stunning new light on Blu-Ray, and although like any Blu-Ray it is certainly beautiful, by comparison to some... Read more
Published on April 4 2008 by K. Driscoll
4.0 out of 5 stars not Stanley Kubrick's best but still gripping to watch
This movie is only gripping if you watch it at night, take my word for it. I watched it for the first time at night and it freaked me out. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2007 by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best from Kubrick
It's no surprise to me that 'Eyes Wide Shut' was instantly rejected by mainstream audiences, who were probably expecting a soft porn movie along the same lines as 'Basic Instinct. Read more
Published on July 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars a real spine tingler
another gem in the bracelet that is the stanley kubrik discography.this was his 13th film.3 bad things happened. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by abe
3.0 out of 5 stars What A Pity
This movie calls for a review. While having brilliant ideas, it fails its potential to become an all-time classic.
Mrs. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by Vincent Yeh
5.0 out of 5 stars a difficult but rewarding master work
kubrick was and remains the most 'celebrated' of cinemas avant gardists.
the fact that he had a comfortable carte blanche /big budget status tends to distract from his whole... Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by ageofanxiety
3.0 out of 5 stars Different
I like Stanley Kubrick he was a magnificent director, he knew hos to create mystery in the stories he directed, sometimes scary and sometimes very slow. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Pablo Nadal Moron
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