Eyes Wide Shut: Masterpiece or Blunder

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Let's straight with common ground: the film is about a broken marriage, yes? Would you expect people in a broken marriage to display a lot of chemistry, or would you expect them to be distant?
No, I wouldn't expect them to display a lot of chemistry but I would expect them to display some, as a justification of the marriage to begin with and there is also a difference in acting distant and feeling distant because in order to feel distant, one would have had to have prior feelings, no? Kidman and Cruize left me totaly emotionaly bland, so the movie didn't work for me.



there he goes, another drive by cineshooting ...

"it was part of the art of cinema to figure out the meaning for yourself. "

I agree. Director's can tell if they want, but they're job is to show so well they don't need to and it's the audience's job to experience that director's art to the fullest and hopefully glean that meaning with nothing but the film and it's parts to take them there. Works, ironically (compared to your arguments) just like a book. Just like any work of art.

Of course, there is a huge margin for error, but in film, it is not error. It becomes the fluidity that makes the very work of art itself even more complex and beautiful. It's like the director hands us ... what, a crystal ball, a mirror, whatever. Each person who looks into it will see something different. They may see things similar to what others see (hence, most people going to see Rush Hour will think it funny) but others won't (hence the others who found it offensive). Doesn't matter what they see. Doesn't matter how they got there. What matters is that they're looking, and the thing that they are looking at. It's a 1-1 relationship. It's a world of connection and possibility. It's a limbo of ideas that happens with all art that I love, and that's why I love movies, becuase it's so visual, sensual, it's a world that sucks you in in ways a sculpture or a painting has never done for me.

the film ...

I totally agree about the visuals. Beautiful. Lush. However, I found the film itself bland. I don't know if Cruise was actually giving us any true display of "acting." And there was such a lutter lack of chemistry between him and his wife that I came out surprised by how unerotic the film was. Not to say I expected the film to arouse me. I expected the film to show me sensual things that would reveal the characters to me, make me feel and see and explore and comprehend. This did not happen. Perhaps it's because I'm a jaded sensualist and Kubrick's idea of exploring the wants and desires of a married couple entirely ... how shall I put it ... dry. Nothing new was shown to me. Nothing shocking at all really. I suppose it might shock mainstream viewers but I sat there and pretty much ... I wasn't bored. It was unmoved. Things felt soft focus and for me, without depth, without connection, without emotion. I felt very little emotion at all and truly, cared VERY little for the characters.

And I can only blame that on the director because I went in there wanting to be moved. Everyone was talking smack about the film and how awful and long it was and how shocking this or that and I said - a film meant just for me. Let's go see what it's all about. And I sat down and got nothing that pushed any boundaries, unravelled any mysteries, tangled any preconceived notions.

This was why I found it a blunder. I really think Kubrick was so caught up in his presentation that he failed miserably on the content. I'm not talking plot or such. I'm talking ... like biting into the most perfect apple you'll ever see and finding it's mushy and tastes like water. Like you guys said, unhappy endings do not make masterpieces. Neither do gorgeous set pieces, soft focus, and lush cinematography.
Why has no one else addressed thmilin's observation? She said certain things better than I did, pertaining to the connection, chemistry and blandness of the movie. Where I disagree with her is that it was Kubrick's fault. Yes Kubrick had a certain vision but one can't expect him to manufacture real feeling ( even one of distance ) between two individuals that are unable to show any kind of connection. The key here is " connection " even if it's disconnection or in cinema jargon " in the moment ". Kidman and Cruize where never in the moment as a couple. I don't think that Kubric's intention was to create a marriage disconnection that was utter boredom from beginning to end because that would be a negation of the whole cinematic process.
Had Kubrick had some other more connected actors to work with perhaps he could have better illustrated the dissintergration of what he perceived to be a modern decadent marriage. I don't know if that was his intention but it certainly would not have been as boring. When one lacks any empathy for the main characters of the movie that is based on the tribulations of a marriage, it's doubtfull that that movie can be anything but boring.



Kubrick was making a statement: Perhaps marriage these days between couples have lost their significance. Fidelio. Tom Cruise's character (and similarly Kidman's) were simply hollow devices which Kubrick used to show how unfaithful couples of today are. They probably married in the "spur-of-the moment", without realising what genuine marriage was all about (that of dedication). Subsequently, they both cheated on each other. Is Kubrick trying to warn us about the future of marriages? That the once loyal and devotional implications of traditional marriages have been lost in our society due to wanton lust? The masked ball which the doctor attended may represent the pornography of the internet, though that is just my opinion. Also, there is a lot of talk about 'redemption'. What is with the redeeming of the other sex?
" Pornography on the internet " aren't you stretching it a little?
Eyes Wide Shut was finished in 1999 and pornography on the internet was was non existent as we know it now ( even though public access to the world wide web was established in 1991 ). I doubt that Kubrick had that in mind, especially since the most prolific internet pornography at the time was child pornography that catered to select pedophiles.



You can say you are aligned with thmilin all you want, it doesn't mean what you said comes close.

It just appears you like to see yourself in print and debate for the sake of debating. Why the professorial attitude? Everything you say has allready been said and understood but you go on and on as some sort of self affirmation. This has allready been talked to death and there is nothing left for you to explain. Simply put, you and I perceive this movie differently. You seem to think it's some kind of a masterpiece and I just find it boring. Why is it so hard for you to accept that?
What I'm getting out of this is that people are snobs for pointing out an inconsistency in a position and no one should enter debates because we should all accept others' illegitimate opinions. I get that you don't like the chemistry and they shouldn't be on screen together, I get you slander the film from that standpoint alone, but it doesn't make sense, the argument was inevitable, you're just pissy at me because I happened to be the one, and please read my text with humorous tone because I'm not angry but laughing at you. I gather from your threatening PMs and this folly of a discussion that you're too far up your own ass to alter perspective whatsoever, you won't even address the purpose of Tyler's message above but attack a porn speculation, good for you.



You can say you are aligned with thmilin all you want, it doesn't mean what you said comes close.

What I'm getting out of this is that people are snobs for pointing out an inconsistency in a position and no one should enter debates because we should all accept others' illegitimate opinions. I get that you don't like the chemistry and they shouldn't be on screen together, I get you slander the film from that standpoint alone, but it doesn't make sense, the argument was inevitable, you're just pissy at me because I happened to be the one, and please read my text with humorous tone because I'm not angry but laughing at you. I gather from your threatening PMs and this folly of a discussion that you're too far up your own ass to alter perspective whatsoever, you won't even address the purpose of Tyler's message above but attack a porn speculation, good for you.
Tell you what, let me make you an offer you can't refuse: you stick with psycho-analyzing boring movies and I'll stick to posting lists of interesting ones, and I'm sure everybody will be peechy dorry keen.



I Definently don't think it's a blunder but I can't say it's a masterpiece. I don't think it'll be remembered as Clockwork, 2001, or Strangelove, but I do think it won't be forgotten. It was an interesting movie that provided an interesting plot and sextual tension. It was a typical weird Kubrick movie. I can't say I was to fond of the ending but for a long movie like that when it ended I said "it's already over". So no, I cannot call this anywhere near to a blunder. Definently closer to the masterpiece side.
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I personally really like Eyes Wide Shut, I found it a bit weird, but I found myself being fully immersed in the movie, I am not sure I would call it a Master Piece, unique and interesting movie.



" Pornography on the internet " aren't you stretching it a little?
Eyes Wide Shut was finished in 1999 and pornography on the internet was was non existent as we know it now ( even though public access to the world wide web was established in 1991 ). I doubt that Kubrick had that in mind, especially since the most prolific internet pornography at the time was child pornography that catered to select pedophiles.
Are you kidding? In 1999 the internet was little else apart from porn - not just child pornography but all kinds of porn. The idea that "normal" porn only reached the net after 1999 is, frankly, laughable.
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In case you're wondering, here's a rough but accurate chronology:

1 March 1982: internet protocol suite standardised, creating what we now call "the world-wide web".

2 March 1982: two billion pornography sites set up offering everything from videos of naked film stars to photos of paint drying in a sexy way.

The videos took 25 years to download, but people were still willing to buy them.



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This thread is 8 years old, lol, but I did a search because I just read the most amazing argument regarding Eyes Wide Shut.

http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0096.html

I watched the film last night and I was intrigued in a way I wasn't 10 years ago when I first saw it. The first time, I found it incredibly dull, but last night, I was mesmerized by it the entire time. I was struck by what I thought was a miscalculation on my part 10 years ago -- this movie isn't about sex at all. It's about consumerism -- those that own people and those that serve. Then, I read the argument I linked to, and it all made perfect sense.

The film takes place at Christmas.

The Doctor, Cruise, is not exactly in the same social sphere as Ziegler, yet wants to be. One of the things I noticed was that we are constantly being reminded how much money Cruise spends on his night out.

Kubrick has details that all have a particular meaning, including the recurrence of the color purple.

There are the rich and powerful and those that aren't; there are the men who buy their women. Even the fact that Cruise and Kidman has a daughter is no accident.

You know, maybe it really is true that Kubrick's artistry is often misunderstood or is so vague that many movie goers miss his point. It got me thinking about him.

For any lovers of Kubrick, read this article. I found it incredibly enlightening. I also have a brand new appreciation for Eyes Wide Shut.

Maybe it is more of a masterpiece than a blunder, after all.
Quoting to encourage others to check out the article. It situates the 'dark feeling' at the center of the film as the darkness of decadence. In other words, evil today isn't cruelty but rather decadence, which is a thesis I like in general. Most of all, this is a nice reading for 'understanding' the film because I always thought it was weird how the movie had a kind of ironic/funny ending, but the dark mystery at the heart of the film is left lingering over everything. I was always confused how the ending should be taken, but according to this reading it is indeed ironic.
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Finally saw this, and it's definitely a masterpiece. Behind only 2001 and The Shining among Kubrick's work, IMO. So brilliantly stylized, and totally mesmerizing. I think the idea of the film has to do with the lust and infidelity that can cause the breakdown of a marriage, but that could change as I think about the film more. I also think there are some subtle statements being made about social classes as well. Anyways, it's interesting to note that Kubrick himself considered this his greatest contribution to cinema; no doubt that it's a hypnotic, atmospheric masterwork and the perfect swan song to Kubrick's career.
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Put me in the "it's a colossal pile of crap, a passe, embarrassing attempt to shock, completely lacking in insight or anything interesting to say, and it would have been laughed it for a while and then forgotten if not for the director's name" camp.



Finished here. It's been fun.
Masterpiece. One of Kubrick's greatest films.



I don't know if I would call it a masterpiece and I'm not even sure if I understand exactly what the point of the film is, but I find it endlessly fascinating, imminently re-watchable, artfully directed by Kubrick. Tom Cruise offers one of his stronger performances and Kidman is superb.



Almost a masterpiece.


Definitely one of Kubrick's finest. The masked ball orgy scene, which has a score that gave me goosebumps, is one of my favorites in all of cinema.



Put me in the "it's a colossal pile of crap, a passe, embarrassing attempt to shock, completely lacking in insight or anything interesting to say, and it would have been laughed it for a while and then forgotten if not for the director's name" camp.
Lots of evidence there.



The film casts some sort of hypnotic spell on the viewer and I like Kubrick but it felt misjudged to me.

Its script felt stilted (even taking into account the nature of their relationship), for instance Nicole Kidman's painfully written monologues about her fantasies, which feel like the words of an elderly man spoken by a attractive younger woman, rather than natural scripting.

I found aspects of it over-indulgent and pacing labourous at times too. I could happily and watch Kubrick's slow burn takes in other circumstances but this didn't connect with me. I felt that there simply wasnt enough content for 3 hours of screen-time to justify it.

Sorry guys, not to say its a terrible movie (beautifully shot, etc) but out of two its a negative vote for me.
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