So, it was a good first week on my Halloween to Christmas countdown. All of the reviews so far can be found at the bottom of the article, or by clicking here. Watching Christmas films as the fireworks were going off was a strange experience, but Rocky IV apart, they were all worth it. Anyway, I’m now into my second week, with some films I’ve not seen before, so I’m looking forward to it.
And today it’s…
7th November, Day 8
Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
We meet a young, succesful couple Bill and Alice Hartford (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) preparing to go to a Christmas party. At the party, Bill starts talking to two beuatiful women, while Alice dancers with a handsome older man. Bill is called by the party’s host for help with a young woman who has overdosed. Bill also meets an old medical school friend Nick who plays in the jazz band. After an arguement between Bill and Alice about fidelity and jealousy, Bill excuses himself when a patient dies. Walking back from visiting his patient’s widow, he visits a prostitute, but doesn’t do anything, and then he sees his old friend Nick is playing in a jazz club. When catching up, Bill learns about a secret party his friend has been asked to play at. He manages to get access to the party (the famed masked party of this film) but is told to leave by a masked woman. He is unmasked by the organisers of the party, but is spared punishment when the masked woman offers herself in his place.
The next day, Dr Bill is confused when Nick has left town suddenly, and when returning to the mansion that hosted the party, he is told to leave and not come back. Bill contiunues to investigate, and finds himself getting caught up in a web of mystery while his family life falls apart.
Eyes Wide Shut is a film that is incredibly problematic for me. Tom Cruise was making interesting films around this time (Magnolia came out the same year), and hadn’t moved his late career action man phase. Nicole Kidman has proven herself as an excellent accident actress, and of course, it is only the second Kubrick film released in my lifetime.
It is however incredibly dull. Kubrick was aiming for a dream-like feel to the film, but it is just ponderous and slow. I watched this film years and years ago, and remember not particularly enjoying it. In fact, I didn’t really remember much about it at all. However, I thought going into this Christmas list of films I was ready to rewatch, maybe my increased maturity (don’t laugh!) would give me more insight.
Alas, I was wrong. The film doesn’t work on any level for me. The story isn’t interesting enough to be a murder mystery and the characters’ aren’t interesting enough to be a study of a marriage falling apart. There are literally two pieces of the film I like, the final scene with Cruise and Kidman when Alice finally confronts Bill, and there’s one creepy scene when Bill is being followed and a very strange man crosses the road while staring at him. Oh, and there’s an Alan Cumming hotel receptionist character who I wanted to see more of, but that’s just because it is Alan Cumming.
There are some films that just don’t work for me. A scene were Bill and Alice get high, a late night scene in a costume store, another scene in a costume store, then a scene at the end where the plot is explained. To be honest, I could list most of the scenes.
Overall, I give this
Yeah… I just don’t get it, and I have absolutely no interest in rewatching it to look deeper into it. And worse than Rocky IV I guess!
The second week isn’t off to the best of starts, but there’s some fun ones to look forward to, especially tomorrow’s LOVE ACTUALLY!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far.
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut