Eyes Wide Shut

It was inevitable that Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut would be the most misunderstood film of 1999. Kubrick died four months prior to its release, and there was no end to speculation how much he would have tinkered with the picture, changed it, "fixed" it. We'll never know. But even without the haunting enigma of the director's death--and its eerie echo/anticipation in the scene when Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) visits the deathbed of one of his patients--Eyes Wide Shut would have perplexed and polarized viewers and reviewers. After all, virtually every movie of Kubrick's post-U.S. career had; only 1964's Dr. Strangelove opened to something approaching consensus. Quite apart from the author's tinkering, Kubrick's movies themselves always seemed to change--partly because they changed us, changed the world and the ways we experienced and understood it. And we may expect Eyes Wide Shut to do the same. Unlike Kubrick himself, it has time. So consider, as we settle in to live with this long, advisedly slow, mesmerizing film, how challenging and ambiguous its narrative strategy is. The source is an Arthur Schnitzler novella titled Traumnovelle (or "Dream Story"), and it's a moot question how much of Eyes Wide Shut itself is dream, from the blue shadows frosting the Harfords' bedroom to the backstage replica of New York's Greenwich Village that Kubrick built in England. Its major movement is an imaginative night-journey (even the daylight parts of it) taken by a man reeling from his wife's teasing confession of fantasized infidelity, and toward the end there is a token gesture of the couple waking to reality and, perhaps, a new, chastened maturity. Yet on some level--visually, psychologically, logically--every scene shimmers with unreality. Is everything in the movie a dream? And if so, who is dreaming it at any given moment, and why? Don't settle for easy answers. Kubrick's ultimate odyssey beckons. And now the dream is yours. --Richard T. Jameson

Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 26 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.4
Metacritic:
68
Rotten Tomatoes:
74%
R
Year:
1999
159
Website
2,717 Views

Alice:
Tell me something. Those two girls... at the party last night... Did you, by any chance... happen to... fuck them?

Bill:
What!? What, are you talking about?

Alice:
I'm talking about the two girls that you were so blatantly hitting on.

Bill:
I wasn't hitting on anybody.

Alice:
Mmmmm. Who were they?

Bill:
They were just a couple of models.

Alice:
And where did you disappear to with them for so long?

Bill:
Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I didn't disappear... with anybody. Ziegler wasn't feeling too well... and I got called upstairs to see him. Anyway, who was the guy you were dancing with?

Alice:
[laughs] A friend of the Ziegler's.

Bill:
What did he want?

Alice:
What did he want? Oh, what did he want? Mmmm, sex... upstairs. [chuckles] Then and there.

Bill:
Is that all?

Alice:
Yeah. Yeah, that was all.

Bill:
Just wanted to fuck my wife.

Alice:
[laughs] That's right.

Bill:
I guess that's understandable.

Alice:
[confused] Understandable?

Bill:
Because you are a very, very beautiful woman.

Alice:
Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. So... because I'm a beautiful woman, the only reason any man ever wants to talk to me... is because he wants to fuck me? Is that what you're saying?

Bill:
Well, I don't... think its quite that black and white. But... but I think we both know what men are like.

Alice:
So, on that basis, I should conclude that you wanted to fuck those two models?

Bill:
There are exceptions.

Alice:
And what makes you an exception?

Bill:
What makes me an exception is that... I happen to be in love with you. And because we're married, and because I would never lie to you. Or hurt you.

Alice:
Do you realize... that what you're saying is that the only reason you wouldn't fuck those two models is out of consideration for me! Not because you really wouldn't want to!

Bill:
Lets just relax, Alice. This pot is making you aggressive.

Alice:
No! It's not the pot, it's you! Why can't you ever give me a straight fucking answer!?

Bill:
I was under the impression that's what I was doing. I don't even know who we're arguing about here.

Alice:
I'm not arguing. I'm just trying to find out where you're coming from.

Bill:
Where I'm coming from?

Alice:
Look, uh... let's say... Let's say, for example, you have some gorgeous woman, standing, in your office, naked and you're feeling her fucking tits. Now, what I want to know, I want to know what you're thinking about when you're squeezing them.

Bill:
Alice, I happen to be a doctor. It's always very impersonal and you know there's always a nurse present.

Alice:
So when you're feeling tits, it's nothing more than just your professionalism; is that what you're saying?

Bill:
Exactly! Sex is the last thing on my mind when I'm with a patient.

Alice:
Uh-huh. Now, when she is having her little titties squeezed, do you think she ever has any little fantasies about what handsome Dr. Bill's dickie might be like? Hmm?

Bill:
[scoffs] Come on, I can assure you sex is the last thing on this hypothetical woman patient's mind!

Alice:
And what makes you so sure?

Bill:
If for no better reason... because she's afraid of what I might find.

Alice:
Okay! Okay, so, so, so, after you tell her that everything's fine, what then?

Bill:
What then? Uh... I don't know, Alice... um... What then? Uh... look... women don't... They basically, just don't think like that.

Alice:
Millions of years of evolution, right? Right!? Men have to stick it in every place they can, but for women it's just about security, and commitment, and- and whatever the fuck else!

Bill:
A little oversimplified, Alice, but yes, something like that.

Alice:
If you men only knew.

Bill:
I'll tell you what I do know is you got a little stoned tonight, you've been trying to pick a fight with me, and now you're trying to make me jealous

Alice:
But you're not the jealous type, are you?

Bill:
No, I'm not!

Alice:
You've never been jealous about me, have you?

Bill:
No, I haven't.

Alice:
And why haven't you ever been jealous about me!?

Bill:
Well, I don't know, Alice! Maybe because you're my wife! Maybe because you're the mother of my child! And I know you would never be unfaithful to me.

Alice:
You are very, very sure of yourself, aren't you?

Bill:
No. I'm sure of you. [Alice bursts out laughing] Do you think that's funny? [she continues laughing] All right, fuck it. Now we get the fucking laughing fit, right!?

Alice:
[stops laughing] Do you... do remember last summer at Cape Cod?

Bill:
Yes.

Alice:
Do you remember one night in the dining room, there was this young naval officer and he was sitting near our table with two other officers?

Bill:
No.

Alice:
The waiter brought him a message during dinner, at which point he left. Nothing rings a bell?

Bill:
No.

Alice:
Well... I first saw him that morning in the lobby. He was- he was checking into the hotel and he was following the bellboy with his luggage... to the elevator. He... he glanced at me as he walked past; just a glance. Nothing more. And I... could hardly... move. That afternoon, Helena went to the movie with her friend and... you and I made love. And we made plans about our future. And we talked about Helena. And yet, at no time, was he ever out of my mind. And I thought that if he wanted me, even if it was only... for one night... I was ready to give up everything. You. Helena. My whole fucking future. Everything. And yet it was weird because at the same time, you were dearer to me than ever. And... and at that moment, my love for you was both... tender... and sad. I... I barely slept that night. And I woke up the next morning in a panic. I don’t know if I was afraid that he had left or that he might still be there. But by dinner... I realized he was gone. And I was relieved.

Ziegler:
Listen... Bill... The reason I, uh, asked you to come over is I... I... I need to talk to you about something.

Bill:
Sure.

Ziegler:
It's a little bit awkward. And I have to be completely frank.

Bill:
What kind of problem you having?

Ziegler:
It isn't a medical problem. Actually... it concerns you. Bill... I... I know what happened last night. And I know what's been going on since then. And I think you just might... have the wrong idea about one or two things.

Bill:
I'm sorry, Victor. I, uh... what in the hell are you talking about? [chuckles]

Ziegler:
Please, Bill, no games. I was there. At the house. I saw everything that went on. Bill, what the hell did you think you were doing? I couldn't... I couldn't even begin to- to imagine how you- how you even heard about it, let alone got yourself through the door. Then I remembered seeing you with that- that- that- that prick piano player Nick whatever the fuck his name was at my party. And it didn't take much to figure out the rest.

Bill:
It wasn't Nick's fault. It was mine.

Ziegler:
Of course it was Nick's fault. If he hadn't mentioned it to you in the first place, none of this would've happened. I- I recommended that little cocksucker to those people and he's made me look like a complete asshole.

Bill:
Victor? What can I say? I... I had... absolutely... no idea you were involved in any way.

Ziegler:
I know you didn't, Bill. But I also know that you... you went to Nick's hotel this morning and talked to the desk clerk.

Bill:
How do you know that?

Ziegler:
Because I had you followed.

Bill:
You had me followed?

Ziegler:
I- Okay. Okay, I'm sorry. All right? I owe you an apology. This was for your own good, believe me. Now look, I know what the desk clerk told you, but what he didn't tell you is all they did was put Nick on a plane to Seattle. By now he's... he's probably back with his family, you know, banging Mrs. Nick.

Bill:
The clerk said he had a bruise on his face.

Ziegler:
Okay, he had a bruise on his face. That's a hell of a lot less than he deserves. Listen, Bill, I don't think you realize what kind of trouble you were in last night. Who do you think those people were? Those were not just ordinary people there. If I told you their names... I'm not gonna tell you their names, but if I did, I don't think you'll sleep so well.

Bill:
Was it the second password? Is that what gave me away?

Ziegler:
Yes, finally. But not because you didn't know it. It's because there was no second password. Of course, it didn't help a whole lot that those people arrived in limos and you showed up in a taxi. Or that when they took your coat, they found the receipt from the rental house in your pocket made out to you-know-who.

Bill:
There was a... there was a... there was, uh, a woman there. Who, uh... tried to warn me.

Ziegler:
I know.

Bill:
Do you know who she was?

Ziegler:
Yes. She was... she was a hooker. Sorry, but... that's what she was.

Bill:
A hooker?

Ziegler:
Bill, suppose I told you that... that everything that happened to you there... the threats, the- the girl's warnings, her last minute intervention, suppose I said that all of that... was staged. That it was a kind of charade. That it was fake.

Bill:
Fake?

Ziegler:
Yes, fake.

Bill:
Why would they do that?

Ziegler:
Why? In plain words... to scare the living shit out of you. To keep you quiet about where you'd been and what you'd seen.

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