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Eyes Wide Shut Mega Post

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From:chris_walsh
Date:November 18th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)

Thoughts from someone who's only seen "Eyes Wide Shut" once, but appreciates analysis of it:

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It's almost a cruel joke at Dr. Bill's expense that he derives so little pleasure from his search in this film. His exploring of his sexuality never gets to be sexy. I find Eyes Wide Shut a cold film, even with the warm color palate; and Kubrick was so brilliant and meticulous that I'm certain that was intentional. I think the only moment that comes close to being truly sexy (even with the film's acres of nudity) is the scene in Mandy's apartment, where they're finally smiling at each other (and she smiles a bigger smile than he does). Overall, ultimately, I'd call it a nightmare, and sex and sexuality should never be that.

I still feel that the film came out the way it did because of the long, good, solid marriage between Stanley and Christiana Kubrick. I wrote a short review of Eyes Wide Shut for my newspaper back in '99, and my first line was "This is the strangest ode to marriage I've ever seen." I couldn't imagine a young artist making the film; I also thought "This could only have been made by someone who'd been married a long time, and who understood the ups and downs of that relationship." That's at most only a small aspect of the film, but it's something I saw.

This is somewhat simplistic, but I could argue that Eyes Wide Shut is structured like a horror story: a character goes into a world of horror (the masked cult, which Dr. Bill finds horrific and wrong) and is threatened (the potential disrobing and sodomizing), then escapes (though more through others' actions than his; as is true throughout, Dr. Bill is very passive) and returns to his safe and comfortable world (getting back to the apartment and seeing his wife) but is then confronted with a sign that the horror he saw is still connected to him (the mask on the pillow). The story then spins off in a different direction because Dr. Bill finally deals with that, by breaking down crying and admitting to his wife what happened. He's taking some responsibility, and some control, after being passive for so long. That's the only way he can recover from his experience; it suggests he learned something important from it, and leaves me hoping that he and his wife do have a long, solid marriage, that their relationship survives what happened.

Thanks for the analysis. I do appreciate thoughts on this film; I was annoyed by how superficial many of the reviews were back when Eyes Wide Shut was released, and that's a pitfall of reviewing. (Kind of like how many of Beowulf's reviews are all "The CGI is weird and it's silly how everything blocks the view of Beowulf's junk!")
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From:setsuled
Date:November 19th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)

Re: Thoughts from someone who's only seen "Eyes Wide Shut" once, but appreciates analysis of it:

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It's almost a cruel joke at Dr. Bill's expense that he derives so little pleasure from his search in this film.

Yeah.

Kubrick was so brilliant and meticulous that I'm certain that was intentional.

I just don't think it mattered to him whether or not the movie was sexy, since it wasn't the point. Beautiful naked women don't need to be sexy to be great art.

I think the only moment that comes close to being truly sexy (even with the film's acres of nudity) is the scene in Mandy's apartment, where they're finally smiling at each other (and she smiles a bigger smile than he does).

You mean Domino's apartment? I think that's the scene with the most warmth. I think it's a combination of his sort of juvenile complacency and her affectionate bemusement. I also felt Alice dancing with the Hungarian was similarly warm.

Overall, ultimately, I'd call it a nightmare, and sex and sexuality should never be that.

Well, unless you're in to that kind of thing.

structured like a horror story: a character goes into a world of horror (the masked cult, which Dr. Bill finds horrific and wrong) and is threatened (the potential disrobing and sodomizing), then escapes (though more through others' actions than his; as is true throughout, Dr. Bill is very passive) and returns to his safe and comfortable world (getting back to the apartment and seeing his wife) but is then confronted with a sign that the horror he saw is still connected to him (the mask on the pillow).

I guess so. Though that outline could apply to a lot of different movies.

He's taking some responsibility, and some control, after being passive for so long.

Well, if you can call breaking down and asking Alice what they should do "assertive".

Thanks for the analysis.

My pleasure. I've been obsessing about this movie for weeks.

"The CGI is weird and it's silly how everything blocks the view of Beowulf's junk!"

I have to admit, I found the blocking of Beowulf's junk enormously annoying. It drained a lot of the suspense from what ought to have been a very suspenseful scene. Zemeckis should've taken a page from Cronenberg's book. It's not the absence of the junk that bugs me, so much as all of the obtrusive props and angles used to obscure the junk. The fact that this is all done because people are scared of genitals irritates me all the more.
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From:chris_walsh
Date:November 19th, 2007 01:48 am (UTC)
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Re: me confusing Mandy and Domino: I meant whoever looks kind of like Hilary Swank. The woman in purple.

I just don't think it mattered to him whether or not the movie was sexy, since it wasn't the point. Beautiful naked women don't need to be sexy to be great art.

I can see that. Again, it could be the whole don't-let-Doctor-Bill-enjoy-any-of-this factor that the nudity isn't sexy. I think I'm at risk of talking out my ass on this subject, so I'll move on...

I guess so. Though that outline could apply to a lot of different movies.

It's almost the "Hero's Journey" of a lot of horror films, even the Friday the 13th-type crap. Writing that summation made me think of both Stephen King's Danse Macabre and fireside horror stories like the hook-hand guy attacking the teens in the car ("...and his hook was still hanging on the door handle!").

Well, if you can call breaking down and asking Alice what they should do "assertive".

True. Again, I'm going on eight-year-old memories of the film. Good thing Leelee Sobieski is plenty old enough for me to lust after her now without discomfort...
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From:chris_walsh
Date:November 19th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
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Oh, and I'm liking your Belle et la Bete icon. Back in the mid-90s in Eugene I saw Philip Glass's live opera performance of the film, with his music played with the movie and live vocalists on stage; the poster for the show simply turned that image 90 degrees clockwise, so that her face is level with his. Made it nicely off-kilter, as it wasn't obvious that the image was turned on its side.
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From:setsuled
Date:November 19th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
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I meant whoever looks kind of like Hilary Swank. The woman in purple.

Domino.

Oh, and I'm liking your Belle et la Bete icon.

Thanks.

Back in the mid-90s in Eugene I saw Philip Glass's live opera performance of the film, with his music played with the movie and live vocalists on stage

I wish I'd seen that. I like listening to the opera on the Criterion disk.
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