It starts with a visit to an old friend, goes to a prostitute, follows into a bar, goes to a costume shop, and ends up at one of the weirdest orgies I've ever seen. Then again, I've never been to one so who am I to say it's wierd. There is a lot of nudity, and a lot of talking in this movie. It's very slow moving. The characters seem to have to draw everything out by repeating things over and over. If someone asks a question, the answer has to include that same question. A few times I wanted to yell, "Just spit it out already!". The story was just plain odd. Bill, after finding out about his wife's fantasy, ends up walking around New York. Everywhere he goes he is tempted by a beautiful woman. Whether it's a prostitute, a friend, a man pimping his daughter, or a woman in a mask, someone always seems to want him. And the question is, will he give in to his temptation and, in his mind, get back at his wife? Or will he not allow himself to cross that line?
The performances were pretty good overall. Tom Cruise again shows why he is so successful as an actor, and not just another pretty face. He gives more of a subtle, laid back performance this time. His facial expressions and emotions don't go very far, but that's the sort of tone the entire movie has. Nicole Kidman, who wasn't in the movie nearly as much as I thought she would be, also gives a fine performance. I saw her character as being very sexual, someone every man would want, which is why Tom Cruise's character deals with so much after hearing about her fantasy. Sydney Pollack is the only other person in the film who showed up for more than a few scenes. Everyone else had their part and then left. Leelee Sobieski was the only other person I really recognized, and she had a very small, yet revealing part.
Being that this is Stanley Kubrick's last film, I suppose I should say something about the filmmaking. I've only seen two other Kubrick films in their entirety, and those were The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. I've also seen parts of 2001, and the one thing they've all had in common, is that they are very deliberate. Kubrick takes a lot of time to get the audience to see everything that goes on around the characters. Every shot, every sentence is milked as much as it can. While it tends to make the films longer than most other directors would make it, it also makes it very full. I'm not sure how else to say it. You never feel like something is missing from a scene. From the set design to the music, every scene is full of life. Especially in this film. From the apartment sets to the orgy, the look of the movie was very distinct. And the music, especially that haunting piano, kept me on the edge of my seat.
Overall, Eyes Wide Shut is definitely not for everyone. To many it will seem extremely boring, and the ending not very spectacular. To others it will be considered a masterpiece. To me, it fell somewhere in the middle. Not the greatest film ever made, not even the best Kubrick film ever made, but something that will definitely go down in history. And if that's not reason enough to go see it, I don't know what else is.