I Wake Up Dreaming

Eyes Wide Shut had more than a few problems for Kubrick to solve. Out of his depth playing out of his depth, Cruise is as blatantly miscast as his character is incoherent. (The role of this self-deluded society doc might have made more sense if Bill were unhappily Jewish, as Rafael wanted, or a closeted gay, as Kubrick sometimes hints.) The ridiculous orgy and the botched sense of place would have been difficult to repair, and I don't think there was any way to reconcile the cinematography's would-be grainy immediacy with the fastidious studio lighting and lavish New York street set. But although the sarcastic use of pop chestnuts like "Strangers in the Night" and "When I Fall in Love" sounds like Kubrick, it's difficult to find a precedent in his oeuvre for the embarrassingly insipid score.

Notwithstanding the misguided attempt in the movie's final half hour to rationalize Schnitzler's evocative material with a heavy-handed and ultimately nonsensical plot device, I'm not even convinced that this "haunting final masterpiece" has the tone that Kubrick intended. It requires but the barest familiarity with Lolita or Dr. Strangelove to see how Eyes Wide Shut might have been cut by 45 minutes and played for East European black comedy. (The movie is rife enough with broad performances—ranging from Sky Dumont's hokey Hungarian to the fey camping of Alan Cumming's desk clerk.)


Eyes Wide Shut
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Written by Kubrick and Frederic Raphael
From the novella Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler

There may be a scandal behind Eyes Wide Shut—which, even in this forlorn state, has enough stuff to suggest a Kubrick film—but it has nothing to do with explicit sex. Someday some dogged cine-archaeologist will get to the bottom of this corporate restoration and, figuring out just who did what to whom, sort the potential film from the apparent one. For most people, though, a single viewing will be more than enough.

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