Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood masterpiece, 10 Sep 2002
This review is from: Eyes Wide Shut [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Many critics of this movie complain that it never truly makes a point. After my first viewing, I didn't quite know what to think, other than I had just seen a visual masterpiece where a brilliant filmmaker squeezed every last drop of acting out of several incredibly talented actors. Nicole Kidman proves that she is certainly one of the best around, and Tom Cruise didn't miss once in his portrayal of Dr. Bill. I've seen many negative reviews about Tom Cruise's acting, but I think they are really complaints about Dr. Bill, who often has less depth than a kiddie pool as he alternates between pitiful, dense, and occassionally unlikeable, which is perhaps not what people expected or wanted from Dr. Bill or Cruise. The Dr. Bill you see on screen is entirely necessary to making you believe that he could consciously make so many pathetic choices, one after another, before beginning to realize his own ineptitude, which makes it impossible for me to swallow that any portion of his portrayal was not completely deliberate.
After several subsequent viewings, it became clear to me that this movie is much like life itself: vague, ambiguous, and chock full of important messages buried within an often confusing barrage of distraction. It would be fairly boring (and perhaps even sensory overload) if this movie had the equivalent of blinking neon signs explaining every important message, and the subdued manner of relaying them suits the movie, and its director, perfectly. Kubrick wonderfully balances startling revelation with seemingly intentional wandering that allows the viewer to ponder what they've just witnessed, and the messages are so skillfully woven in the space between that it's no surprise many people don't recognize them.
It would be impossible to spell out many of these messages without completely dissecting the movie and taking away the wonder of discovery you will feel when you see them for yourself. It's also highly likely that you will find others I did not.
It is basically a story about a man who smugly believes that he has life figured out and under control, progressive to a point and seemingly perfect. When that shimmering illusion is torn away by a mind-numbing revelation from his wife, his perfect world spirals out of control. His need to get back at her puts him in a series of bizarre and increasingly dangerous situations until he becomes lost in a world where he doesn't understand anything, bumbling through choice after choice in an attempt to return to his flawed life, which doesn't seem all that bad after all.
If you are not a person who can watch movies more than once, then this movie is not for you, but if you have the time and the inclination, it is well worth it.
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3.6 out of 5 stars (117 customer reviews)
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