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Alice Harford: Millions of years of evolution, right? Right? Men have to stick it in every place they can, but for women... women it is just about security and commitment and whatever the fuck else!
Dr. Bill Harford: A little oversimplified, Alice, but yes, something like that.
Alice Harford: If you men only knew...
Stanley Kubrick's last film, completed just days before his death in 1999. It follows Dr. Bill Harford (played by Tom Cruise) as he spends two noirish, surreal nights on his sexually charged adventures wandering New York City when his wife Alice (played by Cruise's then wife Nicole Kidman) reveals that she had contemplated an affair a year earlier.
Eyes Wide Shut provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: Most of the episodes in the original novella are adapted one to one, with some minor differences. Some larger changes exist though: In the film, the party is explicitly shown to be an orgy, whereas in the book this was just strongly hinted at. The big Reveal in the end is also an addition, as the "Traumnovelle" left the story fairly open.
- All Just a Dream: Very subtle hints in the movie provide clues that this is so. Eyes Wide Shut.
- Author Existence Failure: Just barely averted, as Kubrick delivered the final cut (minus the digital people) to Warner Brothers just a few days before his death. It would have been interesting to see how the NC-17 situation would have been handled if Stanley Kubrick hadn't passed away. As it was, he told the production crew that if they weren't getting the rating they wanted to insert CGI people into the scene to obscure the sex. That's what they did.
- Bluff the Impostor: Bill is found out when he doesn't know the "house password" for the mansion. There never was a house password.
- Break-In Threat: Possibly. It's unclear if the bad guys left the main character's mask on his bed as a threat or if his wife simply found the mask herself.
- The Conspiracy
- Creator Backlash: Disputed. R. Lee Ermey has said that Kubrick confided to him that he thought the film was "a piece of shit" and that he allowed Cruise and Kidman too much creative control, but Kubrick never openly said anything (for obvious reasons) and his producers said he was very pleased with the result. Todd Field, who starred as Nick the piano player, vigorously disputed Ermey's allegation.
- The sheer idea that Stanley "I Drove Shelley Duvall And Scatman Crothers To Nervous Breakdowns" Kubrick would allow them too much creative control is laughable in and of itself.
- Executive Meddling: In order to bring the rating down from NC-17 to R, extra people were digitally inserted into the orgy scene via CGI to cover up genitalia.
- The Film of the Book: Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler.
- He Knows Too Much: Dr. Harford after the orgy, when he becomes convinced that the powerful people there are assassinating his friends. One of those people later reveals himself and claims that they are not.
- Heroic Sacrifice: "I am ready to redeem him."
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Boris the Blade is renting out a costume...
- In Vino Veritas: Bill and Alice can only get a bit more honest with each other after smoking a joint. This is an interesting deviation from the original novella, where no psychoactive substances were needed for the game changing confessions.
- Kubrick Stare: Dr. Harford.
- Malevolent Masked Men: A fair number of them are present at the "masked ball".
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The sinister chanting during the "mass", when Harford first enters the mansion, is in fact part of a Romanian Orthodox Divine Liturgy, played backwards as is usually done during black masses.
- Precision F-Strike: The last line.
- Quest for Sex: With his wife's affair haunting him, Bill Harford goes on a voyeuristic exploration to deal with his sexual frustration. Probably shouldn't have visited that mansion party though. And in the end, he never gets it.
- Real Life Relative: Cruise and Kidman, who were married at the time.
- Rule of Symbolism: The ceremony at the beginning of the "masked ball" is inspired from a Satanic ritual using reversed Orthodox liturgy, naked women as sex slaves and Masonic-like rituals to initiate an orgy. Not to mention the use of passwords.
- Scenery Censor: see Executive Meddling above.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: The orgy club.
- Streetwalker: Domino, who's awfully good looking for a streetwalker.
- What Could Have Been: Harrison Ford was Kubrick's first choice for the lead and reportedly wished that he had gotten Ford in a comment made shortly before his death.