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Eyes Wide Shut

Director:Stanley Kubrick
Writers:Stanley Kubrick and Frederic Raphael
Warner Bros.; 145 minutes; R
Release:7/99
Cast:Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack

Eyes Wide Shut is Stanley Kubrick's most out-of-focus movie to date. How else to describe a film whose “climax” is a ludicrously Gothic orgy in Long Island — complete with masked hookers, organ dirges, and rigorous solemnity?

The final installment in Kubrick's impressive oeuvre deals with themes of sex, death, and the distorting repressions of the bourgeoisie. It is slow even by Kubrick's standards, with shots of Nicole Kidman's breasts occupying space between lengthy conversations. She plays wife to Bruce Harford (Tom Cruise), a well-off Manhattanite doctor with a severe case of sexual insecurity. Alice's (Kidman) confession of a long-standing sexual fantasy featuring a sailor sends Bill into a moribund, angst-ridden haul through New York City's underworld. Presumably there is high drama and soul-searching as well, but with poker-faced Cruise at the controls, it's so hard to tell.