MONITOR: `EYES WIDE SHUT'
Reviews of Stanley Kubrick's final film, which was screened for British critics last week
Saturday 17 July 1999
EYES WIDE Shut was bound to raise expectations no film could fulfil. Yet even disregarding the built-in disappointment factor, the most striking impression left by Kubrick's final venture is that it's a bit... well, long. Yes, there's copious nudity. And yes, there's an orgy scene. With an avowedly erotic film one must beware unintentional doubles entendres, but the effect of all this sumptuous flesh is anti-climactic. Maybe that was Kubrick's intention, or part of it: to remind us that fornication, like most obsessive activities, is better experienced or imagined than witnessed in action.(Shaun Usher)
STANLEY KUBRICK'S last testament, Eyes Wide Shut, is a compelling film with a batsqueak of absurdity and hysteria. It may be that Eyes Wide Shut is, effectively, just that: a high-class porn film. It has the structure and grammar of porn. As a black comedy, Eyes Wide Shut is intriguing. As a psychological essay on the erotic mystery of marriage, it is pretentious and unsatisfactory. But as film-making, it is superbly confident and absolutely captivating. (Peter Bradshaw)
WHETHER IT will win over popular audiences is uncertain. There was some derisive laughter in the packed auditorium where I saw the film. Most, though, seemed held by the movie, if not necessarily convinced. To my mind, it is a worthy addition to one of the most dazzling directorial bodies of work. At any rate, in an age where the infantile rules the multiplex, this adult, intelligent film is the most stimulating of the year so far.
EXCEPT IN Dr Strangelove, acting has never been a particularly strong element in Kubrick's work. In this respect, Eyes Wide Shut is no exception. Though the leading players, who are married in real life, give adequate performances, these are not especially memorable. The most convincing work comes from Sydney Pollack, director of Out of Africa. Eyes Wide Shut will be remembered not for its acting but for Kubrick's moving tribute to the lasting value of marriage.
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