Film legend "Stanley Kubrick's" last film, might have been his most creative. "Eyes Wide Shut" is a shocking yet subtle look into ordinary life. The movie digs deep into how mystifying acts are being participated in by (what would be perceived as) upstanding members of society. Kubrick goes into uncharted waters and one is astonished that the movie was green lit. The acts that take place in the film have been documented in various cults and (quote/unquote) clicks. The film stars "Tom Cruise" and "Nicole Kidman".
The movie surrounds an average working class New York family. Bill (Cruise) Harford is a physician, and his wife Alice (Kidman) is a home maker. They also have a seven year old daughter Helena (Madison Eginton) together. Their friend and lawyer Victor Ziegler, (Sydney Pollack) invites them to a Christmas party that they attend. The couple gets causally separated at the party. Alice is approached by a businessman that dances and makes indirect advances towards her. She harmlessly flirts back before showing and explaining she is married. Two models approach Bill and began flirting with him. Bill casually flirts back but does not over step. He also bumps into an old buddy of his(from medical school) named, Nick Nightingale (Todd Field). Nick is a piano player that is performing at various functions in the city. Nick tells Bill to come see him perform at a local club in the area. Bill is called upstairs for an emergency with Victor. Victor was partying with a female escort named Mandy (Julienne Davis). Mandy seems to have overdosed by speed balling (intravenously mixing cocaine and heroin). Fortunately for Ziegler she is just passed out. Bill gets her responding within minutes. He explains to her that she needs rehab immediately and that she was lucky this time. Ziegler is embarrassed and asks Bill not to mention the incident to anyone. Bill agrees and heads back down to the party.
The next day Alice and Bill get into a discussion while smoking marijuana (which seems to be their only vice). Drugs and alcohol have been considered the truth serum for years, so things get interesting as the marijuana settles. Alice is disturbed by them both flirting at the Christmas party. She asks Bill if he slept with the two models he flirted with. Bill denies and they discuss the man Alice danced with. Alice makes it clear that the man wanted to sleep with her but she declined. Bill explains that because she is beautiful any man would want to have sex with her. The marijuana begins to talk for Alice and she gets offended by Bill's comment. She took it as Bill saying that men would only want her for sex because she is attractive. They began an engaging conversation about sex. Bill makes it clear that he loves her and has never thought about cheating on her, and knew she would do the same. Out of the blue Alice discloses how she had desires to cheat on Bill. Once in a restaurant she saw a gentleman in the navy, while she was with Bill that she had desires for. Alice was rationalizing ruining her marriage and family for that night of passion with the naval officer. Bill is stunned by Alice's comments. The mood is paused when he is called away to make a house call for a patient who has passed away.
As Bill takes a cab to his patient's residence, he continues to have visions of his wife having sex with the naval officer. It's an appalling wake up call because he never thought his wife had thought about being unfaithful. He is wondering about the value of his marriage now. You can almost view Cruise's character transform. Infidelity is on his mind on his end.
When Bill gets to the deceased patients home, the patients daughter Marion (Marie Richardson) awaits him. They began to talk about Marion's father and then Marion declares her feelings. She kisses Bill and manifest her love for him. Bill clarifies that Marion is emotional (because of her father's death) and needs to relax. He declines her advances and as Marion's boyfriend enters the house Bill leaves.
Bill walks home and continues to be haunted by images of his wife cheating. After avoiding Marion's advances, I believe he decides he won't turn away if another opportunity presents himself. As he walks he comes across a prostitute named, Domino. She makes the offer for sex, and Bill warily accepts. Just before they engage Alice calls Bills cell phone. Alice wanted to know if he was on his way home. Bill obviously lies and tells her he is still at his patient's house. Even though Bill didn't sleep with Domino, he still pays her and leaves.
Bill continues to walk home, and he comes across the club that Nick is playing piano in. After Nick's session is over, he and Bill chat. Nick tells Bill that he is expected to play piano at another location later that night. He's usually blind folded but the last time the blind fold wasn't tied well. Nick saw a sex party with beautiful women. He is just waiting for the address and the password to go to the party. Bill is intrigued and ask Nick for the info. Nick tells him and explains that the people who attend wear costumes.
Bill goes down town and finds a costume shop. Although it's late he offers the owner of the shop more money if he would open up his shop and rent a costume to him. Bill gets his costume and goes to the party. He's allowed entrance because he has the password. He goes in and there is Nick playing piano. The other guest are taking place in a cult like religious ceremony with nude women performing a ritual in the center of the floor.
Bill seems shocked but continues to move through the mansions. He views orgies taking place throughout the mansion. One of the the masked ritual women go to Bill and tell him to leave, and that he is in danger. The woman says that the individuals suspect he is an outsider and it could cost both of them their lives. Bill does not take heed and a member tells him the cab (that Bill took to get to the party) is waiting outside. The member leads him back to the main room. He is asked by the speaker(in front of the other members) what is the second password. When Bill doesn't know it he is asked to remove his mask, and then his clothes. Bill removes his mask but is hesitant to remove his clothes. Before he removes his clothes the masked women who warned Bill yells down from the balcony. She tells the speaker that she should be punished and not Bill. The young lady is taken away. Bill asks the speaker of the woman's consequence. The speaker explains that her outcome is already established. Bill is permitted to leave. He is told that his family will be in danger if he tells anyone what he saw.
Bill returns home in the wee hours of the morning. Alice wakes up and tells him of her dream. The dream is similar to what Bill saw at the mansion party.
Bill wants to know more about what took place. He is confused. The next day Bill does some investigating. As his discovery arises, he feels more in danger than ever. Between Nick leaving town (under mysterious circumstances), receiving a letter at the mansion gate (returning where the party was held) to stay away and stay silent, and a mysterious person following him; he is cautious. Was the party truly a cult? Do they plan to harm him and/or his family? Is there a darker secret beneath the surface that no one wants to expose? Bill has to ultimately find out before the night is over.
This film is a must see. It is really unlike any other film we have seen in modern day film-making. Although the movie clocks in at 142 minutes, it seems shorter. Most movies take place over a weekly, monthly, or yearly time frame. "Eyes Wide Shut" takes place in a two day period. It pushes along smoothly without sacrificing the art. Tom Cruise gives an outstanding performance. We are use to seeing Tom in roles where he is the confident, outspoken, man. His character in this film is more withdrawn, paranoid, and unsure of himself.
Kubrick goes left field with this movie. He's always written and produced peculiar movies, but even this is more. His last film is also one of his most ambitious.