Eyes Wide Shut

(Dir. Stanley Kubrick 1999)

This is a review which I am hoping will save people who read it a lot of time and money.

I went with a friend to see Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick's final masterpiece. Supposedly, he had wanted to make this film for thirty years, or something, and Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise were involved in the making of it for THREE YEARS, an incredible amount of time for a  commercial film. Being the sort of mug film buff that I am, I thought that I should go to see a film made by an acknowledged master, who had spent so much time getting it just right.

When the film finally ground to a halt, the audience in the cinema stood up and as one started muttering things like "Is that it?" "Thank god that's over" "Well, you can see why there are only two showings per day" "What a pile of shit". I have never heard a cinema audience respond so negatively to a film before. I at one point said "Well I can see now why Kubrick died". "Yes," said my friend, "I'd die if I made a film that bad."

We talked about it, and we had not a single kind word to say about it. I  have thought about it since, and find it void of redeeming features.

It is badly photographed.

The sets are often unconvincing.

The acting is mediocre at best.

The continuity is poor.

The lighting is awful.

The picture quality is poor. It looks as though it was shot on 8mm, and the prints were made at Boots.

Hardly anything happens which is believable.

There are gaping holes in the plot.

Worse than all the above, it is   i n c r e d i b l y   s l o w.  At no point does the pace quicken. It is wildly too long. Every single conversation happens at a snail's pace. Almost every conversation is punctuated by very long awkward pauses. It seems as though Stanley thought about every scene so much in isolation, that each scene took on great significance, and to get the importance of what was happening across, he dwelt on every word and action. Every scene could be halved in length and lose nothing and gain much.

I was expecting a film in which Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise play roughly equally large parts. The film is almost entirely about the Tom Cruise character. I was expecting an intelligent exploration of jealousy and relationships and the like. Instead we get half way to a thriller, but not all the way, not enough to make it interesting, and there is no intelligent comment on human nature, nor, so far as I can tell, on anything.

This film takes itself so amazingly seriously, and yet is transparently ludicrous from start to finish. Human beings don't behave like that. Nothing made sense. Characters kept acting on information which they didn't have. The various parts of the world were not using the same clock. The sun kept rising and falling at odd times, and characters would go back to somewhere they'd been the day before, to find that no one there had moved, changed clothes, or even finished what they were saying.

Yes, there is a bit of nudity in it, but this is presented in scenes of such unnecessary length, and such little incident, that you just wish they'd get on with the next scene.

I would thoroughly recommend this film to people I intensely dislike.

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