I rarely do summaries of films. Just go to Wikipedia if you want that.
But this still may contain spoilers!

It’s hard to believe that the guy who directed 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange could create something like Eyes Wide Shut.

Is that a compliment or an insult?

Well, depending on how you look at it – eyes open or not – it could be a bit of both.

Costume and mask worn by Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut displayed at Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibit, TIFF, Canada.

I’ll be honest. Except for perhaps in Minority Report, I never really liked Tom Cruise’s acting chops. At times in this film I look at him and he just looks like a full human penis. As if a person were a penis. Or a penis a person. His character Dr. Bill Harford reminds me of all the shallow, idiotic sports goofs I had to endure in junior school right up to high school and beyond.

Back in the day, we called them jocks. I don’t know what they’re called now but I can spot them. Stupid, giggling sexual provocateurs who think life’s a big joke as long as they are on the bullying, cheating side of things.

Well, Cruise isn’t that bad in this film. But his character is pretty shallow.

Same with Nicole Kidman. Is she a good actor or overacting as Alice Harford? I can’t say. But I did not like the character she portrayed. A giggly, slightly off-base rich kid who sobs and weeps because she was once attracted to another guy and more recently has a sexual dream about him?


Another reviewer said this film didn’t work because it was not grounded in any kind of reality. I sort of agree.

At one point, I got the distinct impression that Kubrick as a fairly old man (70 years at the time) was taking advantage of his exalted position and power so he could just film lots of naked young women. In other words, that he was just an old pervert posing as an “artist.”

Kubrick – “Oh look at those lovely breasts! Did you notice they’re all the same? Pert and pointing upward? And that well-trimmed…” [satirical embellishment — ed.]

Those are pretty harsh words for the great man. And I imagine not everyone would agree.

I did love 2001: A Space Odyssey. For many years it was my favorite film. Even Pope John Paul II loved that one. Maybe it still is my all-time fav, however dated and stale it may be from watching so many times.

Sure there are some nice shots in Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick was a stellar photographer before he went into movies. Several scenes reminded me of the groundbreaking vistas found in 2001, as if Eyes Wide Shut is a faint reverberation of Kubrick’s former glory. Even some of the wooden acting in the film’s superficial ‘society’ scenes reminded me of similar sequences in 2001. But back in 1968 it all somehow worked—and with no-name actors, to boot. In 1999, however, it’s just a star-studded flop.

At least that’s how it seemed watching today in 2020.

My life was in transition in 1999 as I was virtually bankrupted by a creepy person who did not keep his word; thus I was forced to move back home with my parents. So I wasn’t exactly in the right headspace to sit down and enjoy this film when it first appeared in ’99.

Even now, some 20 years later, I still had to pause this movie several times before wading through it to the end. Not exactly a nailbiter. Actually rather slow.

Apparently, Kubrick died just a few days after submitting the final cut for this film at age 70. A bit like David Bowie, who died around the same age at 69, Kubrick lived just long enough to complete his own send-off. But Bowie knew it was coming, Kubrick did not.

And guess what the last word of the film is?


I think that sums it all up.

A mediocre effort from an aging voyeur who’s largely out of touch with what’s really happening.

That’s the impression I got.

Sorry guys. Sometimes even great players strike out.

Oily old European snake hitting on the young “New World” woman…