Things don't get off to a promising start. The music playing over the opening credits is disturbingly reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Poirot and conjures up a distinctly European, period atmosphere. Immediately the problem with Eyes Wide Shut becomes glaringly apparent — this is a film out of time.
Had Kubrick chosen to stage his adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Novel in its original fin de sie‘cle Viennese setting, audiences might have found the whole primitive Freudian mess easier to
stomach. Transposing the would- ~ - ~1-
be decadent psychosexual shenanigans to contemporary Manhattan, however, proves
disastrous. '.' .L o. Q:
Credibility is stretched to
breaking point mere minutesinto ‘ v the film, when Dr and Mrs .'.c.-‘.c.:c,.'_‘
Harford's dalliance with the drooling catwalkers is interrupted by a summons to the bathroom, where his gracious host requires him to tend to a naked hooker who has OD'd on heroin. The doc deals with this as an everyday occurrence, and it seems possible that the film will take a turn for the better — that we will be plunged into modern, post McInerney/Easton Ellis New York. This proves a frustratingly brief false dawn. Soon, we are back in the marital bedroom .. _ ‘ ‘._ for what is clearly a - - - v “C L‘ -.~ intended as the key _ *_= ‘5_ exchange of the
. _ , _. , , , _ _ entire piece, but
Cal"; “""“::':’5; which instead seems
.3. o; ‘3'."i- :13-” E horribly ill-
1 . ~ . . 1 conceived. Mrs
’” f 3 ‘" Harford, in the grip
' .5: :23-.-;.-’ of reefer madness, shamelessly
Harford (Tom Cruise and Nicole
Kidman) attend a swanky party. There they split up, so he can be chatted up by two hot- to-trot supermodels, and she can be waltzed about the dancefloor by an ageing Hungarian lothario who seems to have learned his seduction technique from extensive study of the Cointreau ads which used to surface on TV every Christmas. The scene, which should be tense and erotically charged, is laughable. Dr
When Stanley Kubrick needed music for Eyes Wide Shut, he turned to British composer It)! It YN rmm
Spaceships dance around each other to Strauss’s Blue Danube
1997 album, Deluge, has just been re-released as Flood, with several tracks having undergone revision. Among them are ’Migrations' and ’Masked Ball’, which accompany key scenes in
confesses to an elaborate sexual fantasy involving a handsome sailor. Her hubby cannot believe that nice girls think these nasty thoughts, and instantly feels emasculated by his slut of a missus. There's nothing for it but to head off into the rotten core of the Big Apple in search of sexual gratification. This fruitless quest takes up most of the remaining running time, and will have your mouth
out of the mouths, the different techniques, the use of the
Kubrick heard the album in its original form while working on the choreography of the
3 m :. CU III-I
Waltz. Alex is given aversion therapy to the strains of Beethoven’s Symphony No 9. Stanley Kubrick's use of music has been iconic, to say the least. As his auteur status increased, Kubrick drew on existing classical pieces rather than handing out commissions to composers. In the case of Eyes Wide Shut, however, he decided to take both routes: Shostakovich, Mozart and Liszt are joined by young British composer Jocelyn Pook. Pook's
10 THE LIST 9 23 Sen ‘999
Eyes Wide Shut, including the infamous orgy.
The tracks on Flood achieve a spiritual clarity that others can only strive for. Pook alludes to religious chants that cross centuries, creeds and continents, setting voices to minimalist
classical strings and ethnic beats.
’l'm interested in different vocal qualities generally, singing qualities and styles,’ she explains. 'lt’s not just about the ethnicity of it; it's about the actual sounds that are coming
masked ball sequence, then immediately asked Pook to
either gaping in incredulity or yawning with boredom.
The horny doctor’s odyssey brings him into contact with nymphets, prostitutes, grief— stricken neurotics and a flamingly homosexual hotel receptionist (Alan Cumming, just terrible), and he strikes out with all of them. Most depressingly, he finds himself at the most unerotic and ludicrous orgy in the history of cinema — one is left hankering for the halcyon days of Caligula.
What makes Eyes Wide Shut just about watchable is the screen presence of its two stars. An obsession with celebrity has often seen Cruise and Kidman overlooked as actors, but this film needs every ounce of charisma and chemistry they can generate. The couple went to Kubrick humbly, submitting themselves to the vision of a genius. If only they'd thrown their Hollywood weight and commercial savvy around, the stars may have left the director with a more memorable cinematic epitaph.
Eyes Wide Shut goes on general release on Fri 10 Sep.
Title: Eyes Wide Shut Certificate: (18) Running time: 159 mins Star Rating: it
prepare for him a tape of her work. Next came a commission for original music to fit certain on-screen images — but, this being Stanley Kubrick, the script and footage were jealously guarded secrets, so Pook's brief was limited to descriptions of individual scenes with no clue as to dialogue or context.
‘I have so much respect and admiration for Stanley Kubrick's use of music,’ admits Pook. 'He uses less of it — it’s not just splattered all over the place — but in a refreshing and original way. That was a lovely thing, but also daunting in a way.’ (Alan Morrison)
I Foo: IS out now on Virgin,