Eyes Wide Shut

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After a swanky Manhattan party, Alice (Kidman), wife of well-to-do doctor William Harford (Cruise), confesses to fantasising about a naval officer. Haunted by visions of Alice with another man, William embarks on a long dark night of the soul during which he's repeatedly confronted by sexual temptation. Kubrick's final film is perfectly watchable but neither shocking, erotic nor profound. Actually, it's rather silly. It's not just that the sex party sequence is both tame (the film plays as if Last Tango had never been made) and portentous, the main flaw lies in the script which rehashes plotline, chunks of dialogue and social and sexual mores from Schnitzler's Traumnovelle - a story set in early 20th-century Vienna. What starts as a study of a marriage threatened by complacency becomes a murky conspiracy mystery that's barely suspenseful or credible. That said, despite often overstretched scenes, it is entertaining. Cruise is stretched, but Kidman, when she's in it, is excellent, and Larry Smith's camerawork is never less than handsome. Finally, however, it's just a cautionary tale about some very mild, old-fashioned erotic fantasies.

Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday July 16 1999
Duration: 159 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenwriter: Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael
Cast: Rade Sherbedgia
Vanessa Shaw
Alan Cumming
Nicole Kidman
Marie Richardson
LeeLee Sobiesky
Tom Cruise
Sydney Pollack
Todd Field
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