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Tom Cruise as
Bill Harford, looking up in the circle during the centerpiece
ceremony in Stanley Kubrick's final film "Eyes Wide Shut",
which has its
tenth anniversary in July. (Photo: Warner Brothers)
An Interpretation of Stanley Kubrick's Final Film: Part One
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
the film there is a balance of the colors blue and red. In
every single scene -- and virtually every single shot of Stanley
"Eyes Wide Shut" there is
either something red or blue, or of both colors, in a shot.
Blue represents cold hard truth, while red represents
several things: comfort,
warmth, recognition, familiarity and danger. (Note:
In the American flag the color blue also represents truth.)
discussion about color in
dreams has been had by legendary psychologists like Carl Jung,
who deliberated heavily on the role of color in dreams,
among those colors, blue and
red. "Eyes Wide Shut" -- the title itself refers to the
mind's eye, or one who walks around in a fog, ignorant to
infinite possibilities or the
sleeping dreamer whose eyes are closed but can see all manner of
visions -- is based on Arthur Schnitzler's book
Traumnovelle (Dream Story).
Harford (Nicole Kidman) undresses revealing her naked body we
see two tennis racquets and a red curtain. Can we assume
that it is
night, and that perhaps Alice
is getting ready for bed? In the film's third shot, when
we first see Bill Harford (Tom Cruise), it is obviously a
different night or moment in
time, as golf clubs in a golfing bag are present, and not a pair
of tennis racquets. The red curtains are still there
(it's the same room of course,
and this time there is a blue light that certifies that it is
nighttime. Five minutes later when we first meet Victor
Ziegler (Sydney Pollack) and
Illona (Leslie Lowe) at the Zieglers' Christmas party, Victor
mentions to Bill that "you ought to see my serve now",
referring to tennis when
speaking of the orthopedic doctor whom Bill refers him to.
The tennis racquets in the
opening shot with Alice: could it be that Alice and Victor
played tennis together at some point? In the initial scene
the Christmas party note the
way that Victor discreetly but clearly looks Alice up and down
as he tells Bill and Alice to "go inside, have a drink
and enjoy the party."
Are Alice and Victor having an
Alice escapes at the
Alice says she desperately
needs to go to the bathroom -- this is just as Bill wants Alice
to meet Nick Nightingale (Todd Field), the would-be doctor
playing the piano. Does
Alice know Nick? Is she afraid that Nick has recognized
her from an infamous secret orgy party? For those who have
the film, Nick later mentions
to Bill that he had previously played at the orgy parties
blindfolded, and on some occasions the blindfold would come
undone, allowing him to see all
manner of very attractive women naked or very close to it.
Was Alice one of those women that Nick saw at an orgy?
Alice says to Bill that she
wants to go to the bathroom, yet the instant she leaves Bill's
side she chugs down a glass of champagne in one fell swoop,
apparently relieved to get
away. Again, does she know Nick? For Alice was it a
close shave with Nick -- the near-meeting of him during the
Christmas party? She does
say to Bill "who's that?", but is it because she really may have
seen Nick in the past at an orgy party or because she
really doesn't know Nick?
In any event, the drinking of more alcohol is inconsistent with
someone who desperately needs to go to the bathroom.
There's no clue that she has in
fact gone to the ladies' room. (Not that we need to
actually see it, but we don't know that she ever does.)
Can we then infer that Alice
lied to Bill?
When Sandor Szavost (Sky
Dumont) takes Alice's drink (another half-full glass of
champagne) and then later says to Alice while dancing with her
that "one of the charms of
marriage is that deception is a necessity for both parties," we
see that Sandor is wearing a dark blue ribbon on the lapel
of his tuxedo.
Is Sandor a cold hard truth
teller or is this just idle chatter?
Red and blue are
constant in "Eyes Wide Shut", with red in this scene meaning
comfort and security for Bill (Tom Cruise) and blue in the same
scene meaning cold hard truth, thought
and revelation as dispensed by Alice (Nicole Kidman) during the
pot-fueled scene where she and Bill discuss infidelity and men
and womens' motivations for sex outside marital and
other boundaries. (Photos: Warner Brothers)
Bill Is Summoned To Victor's
In Victor's suite on a wall
there's a large painting of a naked woman lying prostrate on a
red carpet with patterns. The color of the carpet and the
patterns strongly resemble the
red curtain and patterns in Bill and Alice's home. Is this
a painting of Alice? The woman in the picture doesn't
look like Alice but her
positioning in the painting is very similar to the
positioning of the woman who is slumped in the deep red-burgundy
armchair. The woman
(Abigail Good) has overdosed and Victor has obviously had sex
with her. She is lying unconscious. She actually has
hair but in the scene her hair
looks red. Is she a manifestation of Alice, who also has
red hair? And who's having the dream?
After Bill has been flirting
with and flirted to by two women at the Zieglers' Christmas
party and Alice and Sandor dance, both Bill and Alice release
their sexual tensions about
their respective potential extramarital opportunities at the
Zieglers' party on each other. We see this activity
a mirror in the Harfords'
bedroom, with the camera closing in on Alice as she gives a look
in the mirror, seemingly disaffected and disengaged as
her husband Bill is kissing
her, with Chris Isaak's song "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" blaring
over the scene.
Is Alice the one who's done a
bad bad thing? Is she the one who is thinking about doing
so? Is Bill?
The metaphorical statement of
adultery equaling the death of a marital or other significant
relationship is constant throughout "Eyes Wide Shut".
The famous pot-fueled "if you
men only knew" bedroom argument between Bill and Alice about
real and imagined adultery and Alice's admissions
about flirting with adultery
that ends with the notification that Lou Nathanson, a long-time
family friend, has died -- an intervention via telephone --
telephones are like alarm
clocks in "Eyes Wide Shut", big wake-up calls momentarily
shaking Bill from his trance-like hunger to experience
what life is like on the other
side of a committed relationship.
Bill Arrives At Lou
Nathanson's Estate House
lying dead in bed with a blue blanket covering him up to his
neck, Bill talks with Marion (Marie Richardson), who is the
daughter of Lou.
Marion's hairstyle looks
similar to Alice's. Behind her is the blue light of night
through a window as she suddenly breaks down and admits that she
loves Bill and confesses that
she doesn't want to go away with her boyfriend Carl (Thomas
Gibson). Again, the blue light of truth. Within
the doorbell (another
metaphorical alarm clock) rings. Carl, whose hairstyle
slightly resembles Bill's, enters the bedroom.
"Even if I'm never to see you
again, I want at least to live near you," Marion frantically
tells Bill, who is stunned. "We barely know each other,"
At this point, "Eyes Wide Shut"
is at the 43-minute mark.
Primal passions and yearnings
between human beings. More on this in
Related: "Eyes Wide Shut" has
its tenth anniversary this summer
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