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Subject: Eyes Wide Shut!

Written By: Tia on 06/10/06 at 1:45 pm

why is it so bad? what the hell happened?

Subject: Re: Eyes Wide Shut!

Written By: whistledog on 06/10/06 at 1:47 pm

Bad acting, terrible plot, but nonetheless I couldn't turn away :D

Subject: Re: Eyes Wide Shut!

Written By: Philip Eno on 06/10/06 at 1:58 pm

I have still yet to see this film, so I cannot pass any personal comments, but the critics called it "Eyes Wide Sh#t"

Subject: Re: Eyes Wide Shut!

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 06/10/06 at 10:31 pm

Cruise and Kidman have been much maligned since the movie came out, and the press over-emphasized seeing Kidman in the buff. Many viewers complained there wasn't enough gravity to Cruise and Kidman as actors. They came off as shallow and juvenile, as in real life, as in the on-screen performance. I thought so when I saw it. In retrospect, however, I agree with critics who suggested Cruise and Kidman actually did right by the story because Dr. and Mrs. Harford were shallow and juvenile characters. The Harfords were a very '90s couple. They wanted for themselves the perfect Cinemax soft-core porn sexual dalliance. They wanted it to be all elegant and pretty--like some kind of perfume ad.  The Harfords were media dupes. They were absorbed in the TV dreamworld and did not understand they were not capable of managing the vile people in the real world who use sex to control and hurt others. Basically, temptation drove the Harfords, and they had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

EWS is based on Austrian novelist Arthur Schnitzler's story Traumnovelle (Dream Story), a psychological mystery, so the viewer may interpret EWS any number of ways. How much is dream? How much is real? My impression of EWS is in the surreal.  I see the theme of sex in the film as an allegory for decadent political power...something we see in our own government today. The most powerful scene for me, the Illuminati "Masked Ball," seems to be like what would happen if you snuck into Dick Cheney's private party at the Republican National Convention. You always wanted to know what the rich and powerful shapers of public policy, the manufacterers of zeitgeist do when they're out of the public eye. You wanted to know the truth. However, the closer you get to power that wants to keep its secrets, the more the truth eludes you. Hence the "masked ball." The powerful ritualistically hide the truth from one another. They're not really going to hurt Dr. Harford, they're just going to scare him. The corrupt elite at the ball know Harford poses no real threat. Harford goes away with no truth, only ambivalence. He can say what he likes, but who's going to believe him?


MUSIC: "Eyes Wide Shut" was one of the few soundtracks I sought out and bought. It had some great music on it--Mozart, Shostakovich, Ligeti, Liszt--but the piece that really grabbed me was Jocelyn Pook's "Masked Ball." The masked ball scene was the only scene in EWS that put the Kubrick-esque chill into me, like the chill that runs all through "The Shining." Pook is a viola player and as a composer she's mediocre. "Masked Ball," however, is exceptional. It is based on an earlier Pook work "Backward Priests." What you hear in "Masked Ball" is a processed backward-looped recording of two different Eastern Orthodox priests celebrating Latin Mass. The way clerics Eastern Orthodox church intones the mass in Latin is very moving in its gravity, its profundity, its passion, its solemnity. Pook uses a bed of electronic sampler and violas to frame the voices of the priests. Voices so powerful being manipulated as such with the choreography and cinemtography of the masked ball sequence was to me deeply disturbing...and intriguing!

Subject: Re: Eyes Wide Shut!

Written By: Tia on 06/11/06 at 8:07 am

hmm, the political power thing is interesting. the first thing i thought of when i saw the masked ball is what allegedly goes on at bohemian grove -- not to mention the whole candy jones thing, which though yes is a hoax is pretty much the last word on this assumption that people in power must be sexually debauched, basically because they can afford it.

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