EYES WIDE SHUT
Stanley Kubrick, 1998
One night can change everything.
Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) lives a very quiet life in NYC. His wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) gets a little frustrated with him and shares a fantasy she had once with another man. They have a fight, as much as someone can have a fight with Bill. The revelation will haunt him the whole night though.
This will actually be quite a night for the good doctor Harford. First, he is being molested by a client. Then he almost have sex with a prostitute (Vinessa Shaw). He witnesses an awkward sexual situation involving a teenager. Bill finally invites himself to a private orgy between VIPs. His visit is interrupted as someone recognized him. Bill drops his mask and his life is unexpectedly redeemed by one of the escorts.
When he comes home, Alice wakes up from a nightmare in which she was being gang raped. What a night!
The next day, everything is gone. Nick Nightingale (Todd Field) went back to Seattle. The prostitute left when she found out she was HIV positive. Mr Milich (Rade Šerbedžija) didn’t press charges on the men who spent the night with his daughter (Leelee Sobieski). The phone doesn’t answer. The grid is locked. The escort died of an overdose. What if everything was just a charade, like Ziegler (Sydney Pollack) seems to say?
Bill comes back home. Alice has found his mask and wants some explanations. Their couple will survive.
I do love you and you know there is something we need to do as soon as possible.
Eyes Wide Shut is about an epiphany.
Bill is blind. He lives with his sleepers. His routine is comforting. He flirts a little but stops before getting anywhere close to the danger. When his wife tells him an Hungarian man wanted to have sex with her, he can’t feel threatened because he believes he’s protected.
Maybe because you’re my wife! Maybe because you’re the mother of my child!
First of all, Alice’s confession breaks all his certainties. Second they make him think. He understands his wife is human and as such, she may have sexual fantasies with other men. This thought is painful for Bill. He will spend the night reflecting on desire. One of his clients jumps on him, like a fantasy. He’s being tempted by the prostitute at the corner of the street. Having sex for money is easy. He gets rescued by chance, thanks to a phone call from his wife. Then he gets curious and wants to know the password for the party. He’s playing with matches. He should be ashamed of himself for keeping quiet when he witnesses child’s abuse. Finally he puts himself in troubles in this temple of lust. He gets caught. Bill has finally revealed his true nature. He feels naked in front of all those people, even though he didn’t have to remove his clothes.
He is being told to keep everything for himself.
If you make any further inquires, or if you tell a single soul about what you’ve seen here tonight… there will be very dire consequences for you and your family! Do you understand?
That’s his conscience talking to him: keep it secret. Nothing happened. And it’s true, there’s no trace of anything. Bill could go back to his life like business as usual. No one would know. After all, even Ziegler told him it was in his head.
Yet the escort is dead. And that is for real. She’s the proof that everything took place and that desire is for real. Desire is all around us. Bill can’t ignore that reality. Lucky for him, Alice will find out. She’s the one who will provoke the conversation. She will save everything that needed to be saved.
Couples are exposed to temptation all the time. Those who pretend it’s not true and keep on posting cute selfies on Instagram are in denial. Sometimes we do make mistakes. We’re human. Communication can help us stay together through the storm, not secrets. And sex which seems to be the cause and the solution to all life’s problems.
Who are we once we crossed the line? Does the line have to be crossed? Where is the line?
This publication reflects the views only of the author.