; 400x60

click here to see our uploads list
click for new
Film Reviews, Festivale movie section, a reel life
click here for current front page

Festivale online magazine
A Reel Life film section
Eyes Wide Shut movie review

Eyes Wide Shut
This much awaited tale of marital jealously and its sometimes bizarre consequences represents the last work Stanley Kubrick.

Dr William and Alice Hartford (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) live an idyllic existence sharing their comfortable Manhattan apartment with their seven-year-old daughter, Helena. The past nine years of marriage appear to have been devoted and faithful, neither questioning this self-evident fact until an annual Christmas do at a patient's apartment presents each with separate opportunities for infidelity.

Shortly after this event in an intense exchange William smugly declares that he has never doubted his wife's faithfulness, and in reply she confides a brief desire for a passing stranger: a desire for which she would have sacrificed everything.

Movie Poster, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut; Festivale film reviews; eyeswideshut.jpg - 21564 Bytes
Movie Poster, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut
Bill's shock is disturbed by a call to attend a patient. And it is here that, fuelled by his wife's confession, his slide into decadence and irresponsibility begins...

In the ensuing hours we are taken on an intriguing journey as we follow Bill deeper and deeper into his "adventure". Meanwhile Alice the housewife stays at home and wonders what he is up to. Not used to such excitement he fails to protect himself properly and as a result awful things may (or may not) happen.

Movie still photograph, Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut, Festivale film reviews section
Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut
The film is much laboured over and not surprisingly looks sumptuous. The attention to detail is superb, but then we expect little less from a well-produced art film. Nicole Kidman is rivetting, not only for her beauty (which seems to improve with age) but her performance.
Strangely, her character Alice spends most of the film in extreme states: drunk, stoned, hysterical and distressed. Kubrick doesn't seem quite sure what to do with his female characters, and Kidman does her best to flesh out Alice but ultimately she remains a mystery. I found myself doubting the sincerity of her stranger fantasy, and wondered if she was merely pointing out that maybe her husband didn't know her as well as he thought he did.

It's also hard to believe that a woman of her charm had not met a would-be seducer before; god knows, the woods are full of them. There is also an obvious and increasingly irritating piano piece that gets a little overworked: I was particularly pleased to see the cinema had decided to treat us to an encore in the lobby. A little subtley goes a long way. Movie still photograph, Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, Festivale film review
Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut
I doubt the film will please all, but it is undoubtedly interesting. I liked it more once I had rolled it around a little, but still found it less than I would expect and certainly less than I would expect from Kubrick. I was particularly intrigued by the New York exteriors, and wondered if he had gone against his code and shot outside of England for once (I'm still not sure, but I don't think so).

The idea of street after street of Greenwich Village constructed in Pinewood Studios was intriguing to say the least. Unfortunately, my admiration for the set distracted me more than once.

I look forward to a second viewing.

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mallNicky Jenkins
Bookmark and Share

Like us on facebook

Send your comments or review
What's happening in A Reel Life, the film column.

Enter movie, TV show, or person
Provided by Internet Movie Database.

Just the facts:

Title: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Written by: Stanley Kubrick and Frederic Raphael, inspired by Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Produced by: Jan Harlan, Stanley Kubrick
Edited by: Nigel Galt
running time:
rating: R

The Players: Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Sydney Pollack
Official website
For session times of current films, use the cinema listings on the Movie links page. For scheduled release dates, see the coming attractions section.

Bookmark and Share

Like us on facebook

A Reel Life, the Festivale film sectionMovie Reviews IndexClick here to go to our links to movie sitesContact us at Festivale
Movie images, sounds, and video clips are solely owned by their respective companies.
No other uses are permitted without the prior written consent of owner.
Use of the material in violation of the foregoing may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.


Festivale Online Magazine
Celebrate everything!

ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
disclaimers | contact the editor | Festivale revision history

: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 1999 All rights reserved
Filed: 22-Jul-1999 : Last updated: Aug-1999 : Last tested: 19-Jan-2009 : Last Compiled: 08-Aug-2014
Entire site refreshed: Dec 2008-Feb 2009 | Site URL transferred: Jan 2005 (previously www.festivale.webcentral.com.au)

Report a bug

Coming attractions, Movies by month, Australian movie release datesIndex of movie reviewscontents of current FestivaleA Reel Life movie section