Your Tom Cruise Week Winner: We made this movie with Stanley Kubrick! But there was no room to analyze or respond to the disclosures; they were there only to cultivate fodder for the movie.
Rumors of the interminable shoot plagued the movie. And its eventual reception could be best described as befuddlement. Not that Raphael knew that: It was just one example of a series of odd choices by the director that Raphael observed.
In a stinging piece for The New Yorker in , Raphael recounted his curious experience with Kubrick. In the fuzzy exchange that follows, Alice offers a confession: Last summer, while on a family vacation, she saw a handsome naval officer she was so intensely drawn to that she would have, she believes, thrown her life away to be with him. She never took step one to consummate the fantasy, she explains. But the revelation is enough to unmoor Dr.
Harford, who almost immediately begins a long night of profound sexual weirdness. First comes a confession of love from the bereaved daughter of a dead patient. Then, a pleasant encounter with a quiet, dangerous sex worker.
And finally — plink-plink-plink-plink — that inimitable illuminati sex party. And when the good doctor is discovered as an intruder, a self-sacrifice from a mysterious young lady is the only thing that saves him from what we assume would be certain death. Sixteen years later, the question persists: What is this thing? Eyes Wide Shut walks a line — for all its sights and sounds, it presents no actual infidelitous copulation from either husband or wife. We get to see Kidman roll a joint from a stash she keeps in a Band-Aid container in her medicine closet, and later rip cigarettes while downing cookies and milk.
We get to see the director Sydney Pollack in a rare performance, wearing only pants and suspenders, showing off the gloriously hairy chest God gave him.
And we see that orgy. Rendered in full, there is a certain silliness that is unavoidable. At your next dinner party, encourage guests upon their arrival to use the only password that matters.
The most common knock on Cruise as an actor is that he is shiny, bright, and artificial. But if we can define his plasticity here as endlessly moldable, then so be it. In her book Tom Cruise: The repetition — at one point, Cruise did 95 takes just walking through a door. The ulcer he developed on set and kept hidden. The blatant emotional manipulation. Milich, to open up his costume shop in the middle of the night. For a character often criticized as a cipher, this is Harford at his most actionable: He needs to get to that sex party.
Appropriately, it has a bitter coda: Milich ultimately willingly conspires in the pimping of his daughter. Over and over, Kubrick cut Serbedzija off, bluntly explaining how execrable he was just a few sentences into each take. And he put on my tape from the audition. And he was laughing. Watching this tape, he was laughing. Tom was watching [for the] first time and he was laughing too. To be really crazy. And I started to play games with [the] whole world. He was watching me, laughing from his eyes.
So there is something that is more than acting. Some real madness, you know? He [was] really a magician. In that woozy opening party scene, Bill Harford is Tom Cruise. Not long after, in a wonderfully long, weed-stoked marital spat, Kidman menacingly drawls an accusation at her handsome doctor husband: Cruise gave everything to Kubrick.
He let him into his marriage. He lent him his movie-star charm and he let him smash it into a million pieces. As the director and actor Todd Field, who played Nightingale, memorably said of Cruise on set: Cruise has never said as much, never even suggested as much. And over the next decade, he would have the gall to gamble again — brilliantly, in the cases of Magnolia and Collateral. He was being this simple man. Who becomes his eventual illuminati sex party tipster.