Eyes Wide Shut - C+
Viewed July 16, 1999 at Lincoln Square

I rated this originally as a B and in my quickie capsule described it as mesmerizing and a bit of a bore. After a second viewing, I'd like to amend that to "an occassionally mesmerizing bore". As much goodwill as I have towards Kubrick (2001 is on my short list for all-time favorite film), I can't overlook the fact that his examination of sexual jealousy isn't anywhere near as compelling as it should be. There is a lot to admire about the film; Kubrick's grainy photography is a wonder to behold with its golden visuals (indeed, the film stock itself looks like it's been dipped in liquid gold), and Nicole Kidman's performance is a knockout, tightrope work that continually threatens to spill into mannerism but never does. Her husband, on the other hand ..

Tom Cruise can give complex, multishaded performances (Jerry Maguire, frex). The problem is that he can only do so within a range limited to seriocomic takes of his well-established cocky persona. While Dr. Harford appears to be within Cruise's range, his attempts at more serious dramatic moments are strained. At best, he's merely adequate in a role that requires much more. At worst, it's embarrassing. (I'm with Scott Renshaw in that Tom Cruise should never, ever cry on film.) And then there's the orgy sequence. The sequence in itself is mesmerizing, a ritual of sex that works on a profoundly nightmarish level. The problem is that it turns Eyes from the intriguing bleary-eyed long night's journey of the soul it had been into a rather rote thriller. The more the film ratcheted up the suspense level, the more I was bored, especially on second viewing.