Alice Harford: Millions of years of evolution, right? Right? Men have to stick it in every place they can, but for women... women it is just about security and commitment and whatever the fuck else!
Dr. Bill Harford: A little oversimplified, Alice, but yes, something like that.
Alice Harford: If you men only knew...Stanley Kubrick
's last film, completed just days before his death in 1999. It follows Dr. Bill Harford (played by Tom Cruise
) as he spends two noirish, surreal nights on his sexually charged adventures wandering New York City when his wife Alice (played by Cruise's then wife Nicole Kidman
) reveals that she had contemplated an affair a year earlier.No relation to Dies Wide Open
Provides Examples Of:
- Adaptation Expansion: Most of the episodes in the original novella are adapted one to one, with some minor differences. Some larger changes exist though: In the film, the party is explicitly shown to be an orgy, whereas in the book this was just strongly hinted at. The scene with Bill and Victor towards the end is also an addition, as the "Traumnovelle" left the story fairly open.
- All Just a Dream/Schrödinger's Butterfly: Very subtle hints in the movie provide clues that this is so. Eyes Wide Shut.
- Author Existence Failure: Just barely averted, as Kubrick delivered the final cut (without the digitally added people in the orgy sequence) to Warner Brothers just a few days before his death. And apparently Kubrick himself was prepared to insert digital people should his cut not receive an R rating.
- Bluff The Impostor: Bill is found out when he doesn't know the "house password" for the mansion. There never was a house password.
- Break-In Threat: Possibly. It's unclear if the bad guys left the main character's mask on his bed as a threat or if his wife simply found the mask herself.
- California Doubling: London standing in for New York.
- The Conspiracy: Bill thinks he's stumbled onto a terrible one, but the ending leaves that unclear.
- Fan Disservice: The orgy scene is not exactly sexy. The unhealthy ritual and atmosphere around it give the whole scene a very uncomfortable feeling.
- Gainax Ending
- The Film of the Book: Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler.
- He Knows Too Much: Dr. Harford after the orgy, when he becomes convinced that the powerful people there are assassinating his friends. One of those people later reveals himself and claims that they are not.
- Heroic Sacrifice: "I am ready to redeem him."
- The Illuminati: Someone is behind that weird sex club.
- In Vino Veritas: Bill and Alice can only get a bit more honest with each other after smoking a joint. This is an interesting deviation from the original novella, where no psychoactive substances were needed for the game changing confessions.
- Kubrick Stare: Dr. Harford.
- Malevolent Masked Men: A fair number of them are present at the "masked ball".
- Mind Screw
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The sinister chanting during the "mass", when Harford first enters the mansion, is in fact part of a Romanian Orthodox Divine Liturgy, played backwards as is usually done during black masses.
- Precision F-Strike: The last line.
- Quest for Sex: With his wife's fantasy of an affair haunting him, Bill Harford goes on a voyeuristic exploration to deal with his sexual frustration. Probably shouldn't have visited that mansion party though. And in the end, he never gets it.
- Real-Life Relative: Cruise and Kidman, who were married at the time.
- Rule of Symbolism: The ceremony at the beginning of the "masked ball" is inspired from a Satanic ritual using reversed Orthodox liturgy, naked women as sex slaves and Masonic-like rituals to initiate an orgy. Not to mention the use of passwords.
- Scenery Censor: see Executive Meddling. And apparently the early versions were more badly done, with Roger Ebert even comparing them to Austin Powers.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: The orgy club.
- Serious Business: Alice didn't even cheat on him. She once fantasized about cheating on him. This revelation rocks Bill to his core and sends him off on his Quest for Sex.
- Streetwalker: Domino, who's awfully good looking for a streetwalker.
- The Unreveal: Victor has a talk with Bill in which Victor explains that there is no crazy conspiracy, the piano player is fine and the girl was not murdered. However, that does not fit well with the story Bill heard of Nick the piano player's disappearance and it doesn't account for the mask in his house. In the end the film leaves the mystery unclear.