EW Staff
March 10, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Eyes Wide Shut

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
159 minutes
Wide Release Date
07/16/99
performer
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Alan Cumming, Todd Field, Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson, Rade Sherbedgia, Leelee Sobieski
director
Stanley Kubrick
Producers
Pole Star, Warner Bros.
distributor
Warner Bros.
author
Stanley Kubrick, Frederic Raphael
genre
Drama, Erotic

We gave it a B-

In Terry Southern’s Blue Movie — a novel dedicated to ”the great Stanley K.” — a genius director concocts a big-budget Hollywood stag film. But as Southern, who cowrote Dr. Strangelove, surely knew, Stanley Kubrick could never have created a porno utopia. His Lolita is a grim burlesque, Strangelove a doomsday joke on the reproductive urge. Of course, Alex’s drive to ultraviolence and his impulse to the old in-out are indivisible in A Clockwork Orange: In his morbidly comic way, the late Stanley K. always mingled fear and desire.

Thus, Eyes Wide Shut is an awkward meta-fantasy — equal parts daydream depravity and nightmare deprivation. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise play a bourgeois couple, and one night, after smoking a joint, after the husband tries to initiate foreplay, the wife picks a fight, which leads to her disclosure of repressed lusts, which leads to his embarking on an odyssey through an erotic underworld, which may or may not be a dream. The only sure thing is that this beautifully shot movie plays pristinely even on TV. Flimsy and ponderous, lush and austere, Eyes Wide Shut adheres to its destabilizing looking-glass logic and nothing else but. A genius director concocts a big-budget Hollywood stag film: a blue movie in a blue note. B-

What we said then: ”…a vague, fragmentary mishmash of ominousness and cheap thrills…” C — Owen Gleiberman

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