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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eyes Wide Shut 2

 Eyes Wide Shut

I finally finished viewing Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.

Obviously yesterday I was not half-way through like I thought I was, for I mentioned that there was some nudity, but clearly I did not know that the quantifier "some" was insufficient for the mass of nudity yet to come. It inundated me, and I was left there feeling like some naturist Ebenezer Scrooge gazing at the spirits of Nudity Past, Nudity Present, and Nudity Yet To Come.

It was all very statuesque nudity, which is only a problem for the very young. When I was young, they would not let me into the Frick nor the Guggenheim. I had to sneak in the back way to the MOMA. The Detroit Institute Of Arts threatened to arm their security guards with UV lights, and so on.

I loved the film.

I thought - and this is just off the top of my head - that Kubrick was making the film he wanted The Shining to have been.
In fact, I wasted a few minutes inventorying minutiae that I thought I had been in The Shining, such as ominous medicine cabinets, people who were sexually-differently-oriented in masks, and when the bloke in the mansion came to ask Tom Cruise's character whether that was his taxi out front, the music in the background had just started moments before, and it was the same music as in the ballroom scenes in The Shining before it changed into Strangers In The Night.
I also thought of Don Giovanni, having just seen parts of Amadeus again, and the masked ball was filled with memory of the masked Commendatore figure from that film.

Commendatore in Amadeus

And Eyes was more thoroughly frightening than Shining. No doubt about it.
I also thought Tom Cruise was better in this than anything of his I've ever seen. Nicole Kidman, however, is always triumphant, so it's harder to tell with her.

The story is about Wealth, Power, and The Rich:  when things gets screwy, The Rich may yet afford to live their lives, while the rest of the world may go down the sewer.

There is an author whose name I absolutely forget - and if what I write clicks for your memory, please comment me with the guy's name! - who wrote a short story about the future in which most people were quite poor and there was a small rich elite.
In his story, some of the poor were treated by some sort of drug that lasted about an 8 hour work day that turned them into living advertisements for companies and products, and they went about - quite unable to control themselves - squawking about beer and pretzels and automobiles.
The main character - if we can call him that - and his girl friend made a living this way. One day they went to a gated community or high-rise of the rich and famous ("looking down on the poor and needy!"   Grandmaster Flash) and do their thing, jabbering about beer and clothing.
At one condo of the rich, a wealthy man invites the girl in and closes the door on the guy, then calls security to get him ejected. The guy cannot protest, because all he can say is "Drink Duff Beer!"  We are left wondering what happens to the young lady, and we have hints that orders are not being placed on-line for consumer goods.
It was a frightening story, frightful because of the absolute lack of ability to do anything...
So what good is free will, if your choices are all those of a slave and bondsman?

Eyes was about those rich people who are not in control of their vices, just as the Overlook Hotel in The Shining was haunted by the well-to-do who abandoned morality.
In fact, it was Jack Torrance's rich friend who got him his job as caretaker at the Overlook, after he had been fired from his teaching post. No biggie, except that since Barry Nelson's character felt he had to relate the Overlook's past to Jack Torrance, it was obvious that the rich friend also knew of the malign events, which traced their roots back to the immorality of the rich in the past.

Doctor Bill, Tom Cruise's character, is well off, but he is nowhere near the Rich. He can treat them and do them great service, but he is not and never will be one of them. The terrifying problems come from him not knowing his place.

Kubrick is not preaching against the Rich, but he is saying that great social inequity will lead to tragedy. When fuels become expensive, the rich will be able to afford warmth; when foods become scarce due to climate change, the rich will be able to afford nutrition; and when the laws are transgressed, the rich will be able to afford Justice.
Indeed, they will mete out their own Justice.

Nichole Kidman ends the film with two words. She says that she and Tom Cruise should have sex. Only I think it is clear that what she actually is saying is "We are all screwed."
It is on screen as the active voice, but it is the passive voice:  we are screwed. Passive from Latin Passi Sumus: We have suffered.

I found it to be more frightening than any horror film.

Party's Aftermath At The Overlook Hotel



Books and Manuals said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often..

rachelle madrigal

Montag said...

Thank you, Rachelle. I use it as a notebook sometimes, and sometimes like scrap paper... I just write everything down and hope to make sense out of it in some future time.