The comfortable existence of a middle age upper class NYC couple became twisted and misterious after certain shocking events and almost-epiphanic and erotic revelation from Dr. Bill Harford’s wife; Alice, whose confession on a sexual fantasy with other man while both were on holiday. Drove Bill questions about faithless, his promising career, his wife, desire and love itself while he travels in hostile events changing his mind from one day to another or at least by those two hard nights.
While a night comes back home down by the streets Bill had a casual encounter with a prostitute, an unexpected death of close elder doctor, a sudden visit breaking into a costume store at midnight, and drifted himself into a secret orgy as a result of his ‘lone’ promenade.
The posthumous and final movie of Stanley Kubrick- based in an Italian 20’s novel ‘Traumnovelle’ ,in English 'Dream Story'- proofs that more than an American review of the book, the film-maker achieved to take the tale as his own property changing artistically signs and symbolism winks of current issues and even some older references as the role of love, sex and commitment within the marriage are offered to the audience. Family values are awfully being questioned by Kubrick, using the most famous married couple in showbiz at that time; Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. As well the role of love against sex are one of these issues presented when since a simple pot talk before go to bed turned out to be the pair some into complex argue: jealousy suggestions, mentions on the shape men toward woman and how those stereotypes seems totally ludicrous at this instance.
Alice revealed an old, but brave desire. Angst and anxiety possessed Bill hours later. What so well overwhelms Bill wasn’t the fantasy itself. What bather or shocks Bill it’s the nature she confessed. How she did it, in excruciating details, and making it purely clear that she was ready to sacrifice her whole marriage if the sexual desire with some one else had been mutual.
And because of the pot argue, some disturbing thoughts are quicly developed for instace Bill love and lust, when Alice asked Bill if for any chance he had sex with some gorgeous girls models whose he was talking to at the party in the opening scene, Bill tried to confirm his love to her wife saying “becouse i’m married and i love you i wouldn’t never hurt you or lie to you” so then she claimed; ‘on that basis the only reason you wouln’t fuck those two models is for consideration for me, and not becouse you wouldn’t want to’. So we can tell all the feelings and repressed desires, obsessions of the husband becoming actual the following hours.
At this point and shape; jealousy mentions are shown too. Alice point her husband out that man always took for granted to woman, and despite his eventual loyalty he belongs to this stereotype.
Thus Kubrick in only a ten minutes conversation exposed the typical committed relationship pattern under the analysis wich women are suppossed to experience lust only within marriage, guys on the other hand, are ‘biologically different’. Their lust outside of a relationship is meaningless and excusable. Not related with love. as an example Bill acepted Domino invitation, a nice and beautiful prostitute whose seduce him. The tender encounter resulted to be failled and Domino being paid not for sexual services.
From this point of the movie Doctor Bill obssesed with lust and carnality and is drove into a risky journey looking for – at first instance – renovate his sexual repressions and then even check out how much he know his own relationships with women.
In order to appease the shock of one avoided infidelity event and all those images on his mind again and again; his wife fantasy, Alice having sex with another guy, enjoying herself kiss by kiss while an elegant navy oficer touches and takes her entire, Bill steps by Sonata Cafe to see his old friend college, Nick Nightingale, whose afterward long arguments reveals the location and password to get into a particular and secret sex gathering, where you needed to wear mask, tux and a cloak with a hood.
There, Bill in disguised watches a weird and bizarre ceremony with naked masked girls ‘being choosen’ by the masked ones, is witness of the highest class society secrets and how they - faceless- had an orgy until is warned by a masked woman to leave the mansion.
One of the leaders found out the situation and confront Bill to remove the Venecian mask… and clothes, in order to a punishment, but the same girl who tried to get him out attempt ‘redime him’ in front of the ceremony authority. Then they let him go and ask to forget the place, all what he saw ‘for his own sake’
Next we're taking a look of the director simbolisms and focused on the sense or what moves the creator to expresses in that way :
- As the players on the orgy were all NYC elite gentleman, all rich and powerful and the girls were high class prostitutes. In this way the guys are using their social position in order to emulate a sort of male fetish atmosphere: the female sexual servant. By the way Kubrick took it at his own version but at the end he only ‘disguises’ the old fashioned pattern.
- And about this atmosphere created the director guide us by the mansion exposing crude sexual scenes. No one bothers some one else. Nobody speaks. Step by step in the secret party Bill watches the rest wildly enjoying while a blindfolded piano player utters frightening music compotition wich is mantained artistically the rest of the film. Regard this, it helps to keep the suspense quite well; psychological purely. Even the audience could be scared by the orgy footage not for its sexual implicance, or not even becouse implies for Bill an exception of his eventual loyalty it’s becouse we do know that the entire visit is a danger itself, the way Bill arrived this hidden mansion, the wearing of scary masks – each one would shake you- and the password needed to get into: ‘Fidelio’ the Italian meaning for ‘faithful’. faithful to whom ? what for ?. Definitely the breaking point of the movie.
- But Bill couldn’t forget the place, and tried to find out by lost tracks, several coincidences scared him: Nick suddenly run away, whom gave him all the information about the orgy. The misterious death of the young model Bill woke up from O.D at the beggning of the movie and the certain warning notes wich people from the mansion party sent Bill. Secuences are shown as the time Doctor Bill lost is mind, felt he has not control anymore and can`t handle the non participation in the weird obscure events. Is being followed and he and his family might be in danger
- Next night Bill came back to Domino’s apartment as a simbol of a way out of a situation wich he doesn’t feel to have control, in order to ‘fill that gap’ but instead of these he found out that the nice and potential sexual partner was HIV positive. Once again Bill figures women as victims maybe for first time in his life, or at least so clearly .
- The reference of Aids is not pointless in the film , Kubrick show us that is not a getho topic anymore, above all nowdays when sex is perceived as a temptation or menace to marriage.
- Kubrick maybe chose as a set New York City for ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ as a simbolic place of American society, the Big Town of chances, the promised land where you can start all over again, be sucessful. And find at the same city; crime, sex and ilicit encounters.. risky games would ruin your life too. The creator focuses on the importance of NYC night landscapes; meetings in bars, night clubs, cafes. In this way Kubrick doesn’t leave the most used shape of how Media shows us American typical city pattern. But this time a distinctive accomplishment is reached by the Kubrick seal.
- Subsecurntly times Bill shows his wallet, paying more than the required in order to get what he needed. The over usage of the Doctor Identification at late hours, is the same: as a mean to the end. Those are explicit during the whole story.
- On Power; this figure is an essential role during Kubrick’s movie. Victor Ziegler character; the rich patient who gave a Christmas gala on the first scenes, represented the national security establishment, afterward hard talking, Victor asked Bill some discretion, and try to persuades him to forget about all he saw within the orgy. Tried to persuade him to consider it as an unimportance event, regarding how many powerful people at the sex party was.
- At the Eyes Wide Shut end Kubrick get this couple closer again by dialogue. A crying Bill confessed the last two nights dangerous facts and as a confirmation the stronge marriage instituion Alice encouraged his husband to be grateful of survived even if each one thinks that they relationship became twisted and barely knew who are they sleeping with.
Despite the press commentaries on this movie all the simbolism and even the sub text had an important mean. The review of the modern couple turned into a analysis exercise of how hidden desire and lies took an influential role on outlook pattern or stereotypes of relationship wich regardless of ages of evolution and History only had been change in certain features. And finally women and men are oblied to confirm his own forces on each other, specially women that, as all we knew are still a sex object.