Eyes Wide Shut
(Originally written on 2/8/06)
"Eyes Wide Shut" starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman is considered by many the worst movie to feature two stars who were dating and/or married at the time. Then thankfully, "Gigli" came around and people were like, "Eh, EWS isn't so bad." (In case you didn't know EWS is street lingo for Eyes Wide Shut. See, I'm hip.)
I, too, thought EWS was bad. Well, not bad, just boring. Acting wise and direction-wise, it was pretty good (It's Kubrick, you gotta expect that.) But the story was just so dull and uninteresting it made me wonder why this was made. When I first watched it, I couldn't get past the first 20 minutes of the movie. The only thing of interest was a naked chick needed to be revived by Tom Cruise after nearly overdosing and you could see Nicole Kidman's nipples. That was about it. Everything else was just two very rich and white people in their fancy ass apartment talking about things I don't really get cause I'm not rich and I'm only half-white. Then it gets to the scene where Nicole Kidman has some kind of freak out in her bedroom, after smoking a joint with Tom Cruise. Oh and I should point out that anytime Nicole Kidman gets drunk or high, she talks the same. Here's an example:
Nicole Kidman Drunk: I...see...my...(Pause for 15 seconds) husband.
Nicole Kidman High: Did...you...fuck...those...(Pause for 25 seconds) two...girls...last...night?
Thankfully, when Nicole Kidman gets pissed, she starts talking faster. But also at the same time she gets pretty annoying and starts talking in squeaks like she's The Cheat. So you can see why I was rather put off by it and stopped it.
Fast forward to about three years later. My girlfriend tells me it's on HBO and at this point, I still have HBO (Damn Comcast bastards taking my HBO away), so I turn to it and oddly enough, it's right at the end of the Nicole Kidman freak out scene. I think it was fate or whoever that wanted me to see this movie. So I watch it. And oddly enough, it's at this point the movie gets interesting.
What I forgot the first time I watched it was that Nicole Kidman's character, Alice, tells Tom Cruise's character, Dr. Bill Hartford, that she had an affair with some army dude. While reeling from this information, he is called to a patient who died, so he has to go. We meet the daughter of the dead patient and she kind of flips out, confessing her love for Bill, but I guess it's to be expected when your dad dies. Dr. Bill talks her out of it, which probably secretly freaked him out considering what went down at home.
While going for a walk, something weird and ironic happens. A bunch of dudes call Tom Cruise gay. Seriously. I think this was Kubrick's way of sticking it to him. Also on this walk, he runs into what we're suppose to assume is a prostitute. Bill, still thinking about the ordeal with his wife, goes with her. After talking for god knows how many hours, they start to do it, but fate intervenes and he gets a call from Alice. Bill lies and says he's still at the dead guy's house and says he'll be awhile. When he hangs up, he realizes what he was about to do, decides not to, and pays her anyway, cause he's a lighthearted John. This is important later, by the way.
Walking again, he decides to hit up a night club where he has a piano playing friend named Nick Nightingale. I suspect this isn't his real name. After talking for a few minutes (there's endless talking in this movie in case you didn't notice), Nick tells him he's gotta play this gig at some rich person's house. Bill wants to come along cause Nick tells him there's a buttload of women there, but Nick says it's a big invite-only thing, and you need to wear certain things. Bill, really interested now, begs him for the info, so Nick reluctantly agrees, but says not to tell anyone it was him who told him so.
Bill runs to find a costume shop, but it's closed. "Luckily,” Bill knows the owner, but the owner moved and it's now owned by a Russian (I think) guy. Bill gives him a thousand dollars to let him in to get a special tux, a cloak, and a mask. The owner agrees. While looking for the stuff, the owner hears a noise in the back. Checking it out, he finds some Japanese dudes getting it on with the owner's daughter, who looks like she's maybe, I don't know, 16? 17? They have a fight, and the owner threatens to call the police. Bill, kinda freaked out, pays for the mask and tux and stuff and leaves.
He takes a taxi to the big ass house that's practically in the middle of nowhere, and tells the driver to wait for him. Man, this dude is rich. Bill puts the mask on and gives the uber-secret password. Once he gets past the front door and coat check, he finds a weird ceremony going on, with some creepy music playing. Bill does his best to blend in and suddenly: naked chicks galore!! Well, naked except for masks. This scene is kinda creepy cause of the masks and the music. This ceremony thing goes on for about 50 minutes, or so, until the leader, in red, dismisses the girls. One of the girls spots Bill and goes up to him. Remember, the girls are wearing masks, so we don't know who the girl is. So she leads him out of the big room and talk and she says she knows he doesn't belong there and if he's found out, they'll kill him. Some other dude in a mask steals Bill's flavor, so Bill goes roaming around the house and he finds, sex, sex, and more sex. All while people wear masks. This is a weird sex fetish I haven't heard of before this movie came out.
Bill manages to get found out because he took a taxi there (This doesn’t make sense, don't try to figure it out). As a result, Bill must confront the leader and basically get threatened. Bill bullshits his way through most of it, but gets stuck on a trick question. I forget what it was but it was something like, "How many times do we have to take our socks off before we take a shower?" And Bill answers, "Five,” and the leader goes "Nope. We DON'T TAKE our socks off before we shower!" So now that he's caught, Bill has to take his mask off to reveal who he is. Oh, and he's supposed to get naked also. Thankfully, before we see the little Cruise, the Mysterious Girl steps in, saying don't and let him live as long as he promises not to tell anyone about it or ever come there again. The leader says someone must be punished, so she takes his spot. The leader accepts and Bill leaves.
To interject something, I, for some reason, suspected that Alice was at the party, but I can't find any proof of this. I think it's mainly cause this dream she had when Bill came home finally. But I don't know how she could've gotten back and forth without Bill knowing about it, that fast. So this is just probably a stupid thought I had.
The next day, Bill looks around for Nick. Oh yeah, something I should mention. Anytime he talks to someone, he identifies himself as a doctor. Then he shows him some kind of proof, like he's a cop. It's pretty funny in a stupid manner. Anyway, Bill goes to Nick's place and talks to Alan Cumming. He tells Bill that some goons made Nick check out. This is suspicious. Funny enough, Bill does the cop/doctor thing again and Alan Cumming tells him any information that Bill wants. I mean, what the hell? Since when did doctor's act like undercover cops?
So Bill returns to the costume place and finds the mask is missing. Oddly enough, the same two Japanese men are there, with the daughter. We suspect that the owner is pimpin' out his daughter. Yeah.
Suddenly, Bill has a car and he drives back to the house, rather stupidly. But I guess he was concerned for the girl who took her place. A camera watches him and some goon hands him a note saying to get the fudge out of here or else!!!! So much for keeping the promise of never coming back or else he'll die. And how did the goons/owner of the house know that Bill was gonna come back? It seems like the note was written ahead of time and they were just waiting for him? This was probably supposed to add to the mystery, but it's just confusing.
Bill looks up the Prostitute (She never got a name, did she?) again and meets the roommate. Oddly enough, he brings donuts? Is that what you get your own personal prostitute? Well, now I know. After endlessly flirting with the roommate, and, um...eh I don't wanna get into it. It was just weird on Bill's part. Anyway, the roommate tells Bill that the Prostitute has AIDS. This freaks Bill out because he was THIS close to gettin' it on with her.
Oh and Bill's car vanishes again. And while walking around, some creepy bald dude follows him. This goes on for like 5 minutes, until Bill reads in the paper about some chick OD'in in a hotel, so he goes to check it out at the morgue. Yet again, flashes his doctor thingy like a badge. He finds out that the chick in the paper is the same chick from the party at the beginning of the movie that almost OD'ed in Syndey Pollack's bathroom.
Speaking of, he wants to see Bill. They, you guessed it, talk on and on about a bunch of nothing. After all of that, he tells Bill that he was at the weird sex fetish party and saw Bill being called out. When he said this, I was waiting for Bill to ask him, "Really? What mask were you wearing?" Anyway, Sydney tells him everything from how it was him who made Nick vanish earlier that day, to he was the reason why some dude was following him, and finally the Mysterious Girl was the girl that OD'ed. But before you think it was cause she sacrificed herself for him, Syndey tells him that the entire "sacrifice" thing was bullshit and the girl really OD'ed, so not to worry about it. Ha-ha.
Now, the movie gets kinda stupid again, with Alice sleeping next to the missing mask. This causes us to witness Tom Cruise cry. Were you ready to see that? Cause I sure wasn't. Then they go to a toy store to get their kid a Christmas gift. While there, they figure if they should just "forget about each other's sins.” Nicole Kidman then says, "We should fuck", and the movie just ends. Um, ok, Kubrick.
Oh and what's with the cover of the movie. "Cruise. Kidman. Kubrick." It sounds like Kubrick was the co-star of the movie instead of the director. I mean, yeah maybe people knew what that meant, but still.
So there you have it. This movie isn't really that bad, but if the middle part of the movie is the only interesting thing, then you have some problems. It seems like they had the idea for the middle, but didn't know how to begin or end it. This is what I think the movie should've been about.
Beings with Bill arriving at the house. Neither he nor us, the audience, know what's gonna happen or expect. He makes it in and is told to put his mask on. He does and he roams around the house and, BOOM! Right away, sex and nudity. And it's only three minutes into the movie. Then he meets the Mysterious Girl and she reminds him of his wife, Alice. We get a flash back to him leaving his apartment, after having a big fight with Alice. We don't know what the fight is about...yet! He runs into Nick, who's on his way to the party and Bill asks to be invited. Reluctantly, he agrees to tell him and that flashback ends.
We come back to the present and Bill's trying to get it on with the Mysterious Girl. They start kissing (it's the kind of mask's that cover the eyes, not the mouth, so kissing is going on while wearing the masks), and it looks like sex is about to happen. But it's Tom Cruise. I'm sure he doesn't do sex scenes, or at least hot and heavy ones. In between the sex, we get some insight on his relationship with Alice and why it's bad. The actual movie never explained this, but I think it has something to do with him always wanting to bang some chick. So let it be about that, and it'll be ironic cause he is banging another chick. More sex with other people at the party, then the ceremony begins. The actual ceremony in the movie was creepy and interesting cause of a song that was played, so this could remain intact.
After all of that, Bill is discovered and he's put on immediate trial by this group of sex cultists. When the girl intervenes, Bill is now reminded of Marion (The OD'd chick) and we get a flashback of that meeting. After that flashback, the girl says she'll take his punishment instead of him and the leader tells Bill, now unmasked, to leave.
He does and goes home to find his wife isn't there. This will further make us wonder if the mysterious girl is Alice. When Bill is asleep, Alice sneaks in and goes to sleep and we don't see her for a while because she's under the covers when Bill wakes up to go to work.
See? Isn't this good already?
Then the last act could be Bill trying to figure out: A-Who the girl was. B-Who the leader was. And C-What all of that was about. Once those mysteries are solved, the movie could end with Bill finding out Marion had AIDS, freaking out cause they almost had sex, and him then him finding out that it was in fact Alice and she got severely beaten by the cult. But when they go back to the house so Bill can kick some ass...
The house is deserted. THE END!!
It's too bad EWS is already made. I mean, not to toot my own horn but that sounds like a way better idea for a movie. It isn't too slow, or boring, and doesn't have any pointless characters or scenes. Although I did enjoy the costume shop scene, so that could remain in my version. Maybe 10 years down the line, I'll remake this, using my ideas. SO NO STEALING!
(Copyright Jason Soto 2006!)