Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
When Stanley Kubrick died in 1999, he had two unreleased movies far enough along in production that they could be prepared for release. One was the Haley Joel Osment vehicle A.I., which Steven Spielberg completed. The other was Eyes Wide Shut, a project Kubrick had worked on since the 1960s and the final cut of which he had just submitted to Warner Bros. And in the intervening 20 years, Eyes Wide Shut has gone on to be maybe his most misunderstood movie in a career made mostly of dreamlike and interpretation-resistant films. Is it the complex exploration of the interiority of a marriage, played on screen by an actual married couple? Is it a conspiracy-laden erotic thriller? Is it a sexual fantasia sparked by deep-seated resentment and fear of inadequacy?
REWIND puts it to you, reader, that it’s primarily a Christmas movie.
Tom Cruise as Bill is shaken from his day-to-day life of privilege and corruption by the near-death of a patient and the revelation from his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) that she fantasized about having an affair. He travels through a dream-like version on New York on a harrowing adventure, being tempted by demons, seeing tantalizing but horrific visions of what his life could be. He is his own ghost of Christmas future, and his version of the vision of the headstone shocks him back to reality. In the end his trials inspire him to value his family more and bring them all closer together. And if you don’t think that’s the plot of a half-dozen Christmas classics, then you’re a Scrooge and a Grinch.