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!")