Monday, January 24, 2011

Eyes Glued Shut

This caption is dedicated to my friends Barry and Janet.
Eyes Wide Shut, the final film by director Stanley Kubrick, came to us with a hype that suggestively alluded to matters of infidelity, necrophilia, an orgy,  intense , bad-faith sex between an eventually naked pairing of Tom Cruise and his then wife Nichole Kidman. The highlight of the film, it seems, was that we did view Kidman nude, a sleek figure one encounters in drawings by fashion designers, but the movie itself, intended to be ominous, exhibits all of Kubrick's faults and very few of his strengths. The movie is an uneven enterprise, impressive technical competence here , pretentious art gestures there; I have the suspicion that Kubrick actually died before he completed the film and that what we have was finished by c...ommittee. I am not a fan of Kubrick, but I do think that even his most portentous efforts had, at least, a "finished" quality, a well tailored fit. Kubrick could finesse his films to the degree that it was easy to overlook the vacuum that seems to habitually occupy the center of his themes. "Eyes Wide Shut" attempts to approximate the interiority of Schnitzler's novel and exhibits a topic drift; what ought to seem like incidents that, while insignificant in themselves, build to a culminating crash of tones, instead seems like the tale told by someone who cannot finish a sentence, let alone deliver a punchline.

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