When i started watching Stanly Kubricks movies, i knew i wanted to do something special on my blog when i finished. That time has finally come, and i’ve been trying to think of the best way to cover Kubrick, which for a filmmaker as prolific as he is was quite the challenge. After getting some advice from Ronan i’ve decided to do a personal take on the Kubrick movies i came to love most. And so i decided to begin with the Kubrick movie i love most, Eyes Wide Shut
At first i was going to try to do a straight review of this, but i decided i would instead present my specific interpretation of the movie, as the exact meaning is ambiguous(And i did a short review earlier). One of the reasons i love Eyes Wide Shut is because for me it managed to be ambiguous without being frustrating. I don’t need the exact point of a movie to be be spelled out for me, but i would like something to go on.
Because i am going to discuss my interpretation of the movie, i will have to use evidence from the film. if you haven’t seen Eyes Wide Shut, this may contain some spoilers. Just warning anyone who may want to see Eyes Wide Shut in the future. And now on to my interpretation of the movie.
I personally felt the movies focus was about the lengths people will sometimes go to hide there desires, and what can happen when hidden desires get revealed. The way the movie is filmed, with an emphasis on color and little use of shadow almost contradicts the dark subject matter of the movie. Most directors wouldn’t have chosen this type of look for a movie as dark as this one, but i believe Kubrick chose to film Eyes Wide Shut this way specifically to communicate the idea of appearances hiding/obscuring peoples darker natures.
One scene that i think personifies this idea best is when Bill enters a meeting place for a possible secret society. It appears to be a mansion, and Bill is welcomed by men in suits and masks. This creates the appearance of something classy, but as Bill goes further into the mansion he witnesses a large group of men in cloaks and masks, and the audience starts to feel something creepy may be going on here. After a while a group of women wearing only masks come in, who after a few minutes each pick presumably one of the men and take them to a separate room. As Bill is lead further into the mansion by one of the women, he sees that they are having an orgy, with some participating and some presumably watching.Some of them are naked, but everybody keeps there masks on. The exotic music that plays during this, combined with the use of tracking shots keeps the movies stylized feel.
I think one thing it is important to note here is the presence of masks. Since this is taking place in a mansion, and the masks they are wearing don’t look cheap either this would imply whoever these men are probably have very lucrative jobs. They could easily be doctors, lawyers, or politicians. People with these types of jobs are usually thought of as proper, classy, etc. But here the are participating in something most people would classy as vulgar at the very least.
Here they are fine with indulging there darker desires, as long as they are able to hide there identity, making sure there appearance in the outside world is kept clean.
Earlier in the movie, when Bills friend mentions that he has to play there blindfolded. When we see what goes on there, it becomes apparent these are people who don’t want there secret activities revealed to the world, which ties in to the theme of of people going to the extreme to keep there appearance untarnished by there own secret desires.And later in the movie a mask is left in Bill’s house with his wife, presumably as a warning from this society. The symbolism of masks, and how they can hide ones identity no matter what one is doing is made out to be a integral part of the the movie.
Further evidence of this idea is presented in the marriage between Bill and Alice. On the outside it seems to be perfect, and in fact both Alice and Bill rebuff potential advances. But this appearance of a perfect marriage is shattered when we learn about Alice’s recent desire for a certain officer. This revelation is a major plot point in the movie, as it caused Bill to try to seek out an affair of his own. This shows one possibility of what can happen when hidden desires are revealed. And later in the movie Alice has another dream involving the officer, this time far more extreme. as she tells Bill this, she expresses guilt over this. In essence, she has become ashamed of her own desire.
There is another pair of scenes that fits into this theme. When Bill goes to buy a costume, the shop owner finds catches his daughter with two Japanese men. In a later scene it is implied the father sold his daughter into prostitution. The daughters own desires gets her into deep trouble when they are revealed.
Obviously, this is all my own opinion, but this is pretty much the interpretation i had after watching the movie. I wold love to hear feedback on this