[box cover]

Eyes Wide Shut

The Stanley Kubrick Collection (2001)

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Barry Lyndon
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Dr. Strangelove: Special Edition
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Lolita
  • The Shining
  • Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures
  • While some viewers may have problems with the plotting of Eyes Wide Shut — Stanley Kubrick's final film — much of it overflows with the Kubrickian touches that have made the bulk of his work such indelible artistic achievements. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) is a happily married doctor living with his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) and their daughter in upper-middle-class bliss. Bill's life seems perfect until Alice drops a bombshell on him, admitting that she still thinks about sex with other men despite the decade-long marriage the couple have enjoyed. After Alice confesses that she once almost cheated on her husband with a naval officer, Bill enters a 48-hour state of mental turmoil, during which he becomes immersed in a seedy underworld of sex, scandal and death. As usual, Kubrick establishes a laconic pace early on for the story, which will unquestionably bore many viewers. Surreal images float dreamlike across the screen, and long passages of the film are rendered in absolute silence as the director allows our eyes, not our ears, to take in the story. But Eyes Wide Shut is constructed with the considerable technical virtuosity that Kubrick demonstrated in nearly all his work. The rich, chilling gothic atmosphere, along with some of the loveliest cinematography to be seen in recent memory, makes the film a fascinating spin even when the pace lags. Kubrick aficionados will find much to like here, even if the most praiseworthy aspects have more to do with the film's technical elements rather than the actual storytelling. While a valuable addition to the DVD library of any Kubrick fan, Eyes Wide Shut suffers from many of the same problems that plagued Warner's 1999 "Stanley Kubrick Collection" — namely, a full-frame transfer and not much in the way of supplements. The image quality on this disc is very good, but the 1.33:1 aspect ratio (Kubrick was not a fan of letterboxing) does not accurately render the film in its original theatrical release (although, since the 1.85:1 ratio in theaters was matted, this is not a pan-and-scan transfer). Furthermore, while Warner easily could have released the unrated version of Eyes Wide Shut, as they have in overseas markets, the Region 1 disc is the MPAA-approved R-rated edition, which includes the digital alteration of an orgy scene — an alteration done after Kubrick's death in order to meet contractual obligations. As of this point, Warner says they have no plans to release the NC-17 edition in North America, and the inclusion of this disc in Warner's 2001 edition of "The Stanley Kubrick Collection" bears this out. The few supplements here are interviews with Cruise, Kidman, and Kubrick confidante Steven Spielberg, the theatrical trailer, and two TV spots. Snap-case.
    —Joe Barlow

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