EYES WIDE SHUT
STANLEY KUBRICK | UK, USA | 1999 | 159 MIN | R
While EYES WIDE SHUT is known for many things (being the final completed film of Stanley Kubrick, pairing ill-fated celebrity couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and sullying the reputation of Venetian masks forever), it hasn’t yet received its due as a Christmas classic. But this is bound to change; few films have featured more shots of Christmas trees, and nearly every scene is bathed in the vaguely lurid glow of holiday lights. And if any film captures the morally corrupt underbelly of this most consumerist of holidays, it’s this wickedly funny, surreal, queasily erotic masterpiece. Like George Bailey’s smug, yuppie double, Dr. Bill Harford (Cruise) is a family man in an existential crisis, spurred onto a night of soul-searching that forces him to see the world around with fresh eyes. Unlike George Bailey, Bill’s quest involves grappling with crazed sexual jealousy and coming to terms with the sinister omniscience of the uber-rich. As Bill’s wife Alice, Kidman seems to be escaping Cruise’s shadow on-screen, staking her place as one of the wittiest, most surprising actresses of her generation and stealing all her scenes in the process.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson
“A masterpiece of sustained tone, a tightrope act that pays off in rich and unexpected ways.” –The A.V. Club