Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eyes Wide Shut Review

This was not my first viewing of Eyes Wide Shut but it nevertheless felt like an eye opening experience. After I finished the film very early this morning, I headed off to bed to get some sleep. With the window open next to me, I was sure I heard an ominous noise outside and I jumped to my feet to take a look. Nothing. Silence. I tried to convince myself that there was nothing to worry about, yet as I laid there I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being watched. I was certain that someone was out there, residing calmly in the darkness, waiting for me to drift off into vulnerability.

Once I finally did, I had a pretty vivid and disturbing nightmare regarding the safety of my loves one. I woke in a panic in the middle of the night, reminding myself that reality was still as mundane as our suburban slumber. It was merely a dream. Is it possible that these images that haunted my subconscious happened on this night, after this film coincidentally? Absolutely. I have no proof otherwise. Personally though, I believe I was soaked in the atmosphere Kubrick created. I believe I absorbed the paranoia of Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise).

When this film was released in 1999, I recall it being touted as something that would be endlessly sexy, a dream come true for my hormonal 15 year old self. At the time I didn't appreciate what it really meant to be a Kubrick film, but had I known I wouldn't have believed the hype that this picture was meant to sexually arouse the audience. The irony of a work that features numerous nude women, prostitutes and an orgy is that in the end, it feels like a giant advertisement for the benefits of monogamy.

While not sexy, Eyes Wide Shut is without a doubt one of the creepiest films I have ever seen. I am seldom impressed by the horror genre, and such films rarely keep me up at night or make me consider the possibility that someone is watching me, but the hypnotic world created by Kubrick along with the simplistic yet utterly perfect musical score had my nerves fried, my stomach unsettled and my skin crawling, especially during the infamous mansion sequence.

I recall this film being deemed a lesser Kubrick upon its release, which was also the final work of the genius auteur. Perhaps a victim of a marketing campaign that wanted to focus on a beautiful real life couple doing sexy things together on camera, it seems as if those that entered the cinema initially had their perversions disappointed and thus couldn't connect to what was actually presented. Not only do I disagree with anything about Eyes Wide Shut being lesser, it very well might be one of the finest efforts from a man who seemingly crafted masterpieces with ease.

I doubt anyone was actually watching me last night as I attempted to count sheep. It seems absurd to even consider such a thing, but what proves the power of this work is that I still feel like I can't be sure. It may take quite a few more viewings to fully appreciate the density of this film, and perhaps every time I will lose a bit of a sleep that night. I am willing to embrace the nightmares.


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