My rating: 7
IMDB rating: 7.3
IMDB link: Eyes Wide Shut
This gut-wrenchingly slow movie is the last in Stanley Kubrick’s very impressive oeuvre. Kubrick, who also adapted the screenplay for this movie, is most famous for his directorial flashes of genius as found in for example The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey. This movie, completed only a few weeks before his death still includes his amazingly creative use of symbols and expressive cinematography (the blue lights constantly shone from the outside is definitely reminiscent of Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock).
Back in 1999, Kidman and Cruise, the stars of this movie, were the celebrity couple everyone was talking about. The aspect of sensation that, that specific fact brought to the movie was the reason why the normal inattentive viewer would literally miss the symbolism before them; in other words their eyes would literally be ‘wide shut’. Therefore, the choice of these two actors are quite well-thought out (although I am most definitely not a Tom Cruise fan), and serves its purpose most effectively.
As I was searching for more information on Kubrick and his specific motivation behind adapting this film, I found that there are quite a few sources investigating the connection of the movie to several popular conspiracy theories, especially the Illuminati. The most interesting of these sites is The Hidden (and not so hidden) messages in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut . Talking about the most important themes and nuances in the film, the article states:
“It is about the eternal back-and-forth between the male and female principles in a confused and decadent modern world. Also, more importantly, it is about the group that rules this modern world – a secret elite that channels this struggle between the male and female principles in a specific and esoteric matter.”
The article then discusses some important themes in the film, namely:
- The modern couple
- Brushing with the elite
To me the most interesting thing about this film is the theme of fidelity. Although neither Bill nor Alice are ever physically unfaithful to each other, it is the possibility, or each of their’s capacity to infidelity that causes things to go so horribly wrong. When Bill goes to the ritual, the password is: Fidelio. Derived from the Latin word ‘fidelis’, the word literally means faithfulness.
Having this as the password certainly blurs the lines between what Bill’s (and the world’s) perception of fidelity is. What I mean by this is that when we get married we bring our fetishes into the marriage, but does partaking in these fetishes constitute as infidelity if its done purely on the premise that we are satisfying a basic urge, no love involved? The question then certainly remains: can a husband and wife ever be truly faithful?
This is further emphasised by Alice’s dreams. Although modern psychology has little time for dreams, we cannot deny that dreams are a direct manifestation of the horrors of our subconscious. If we therefore have a ‘dream-orgy’ should we be held responsible for these products of our inner-self? Is it a sign of an unhappy marriage, or is it a sign of a ‘normal (‘normal’ used very loosely) marriage’ as it is a healthy outlet for our secret (or maybe not so secret) fetishes?
These are all questions that this movie inspired. The ambiguity in this movie is most definitely meant to be embraced, as you investigate your relationships (past, current and future).
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