“Eyes Wide Shut” is turning 18 years old on July 16, and nearly two decades later it remains one of Kubrick’s most mystifying and immersive experience. A brand new video essay from the great Nerdwriter1 puts Kubrick’s last film under the microscope and examines the different strategies the filmmaker used in order to make it one of his most involving movies.
“We often think of Kubrick as a highly stylized director, which he was, but crucially Kubrick never let us forget what the purpose of style is,” the video essay begins. “Style is a lens that gives the viewer a point of access to the material — it’s about the audience, not the director.” Whereas Kubrick’s style in certain films forced the viewer to take an observational approach, “Eyes Wide Shut” operates in a much more immersive fashion.
The film’s pacing is one of its biggest (and most tedious) strengths in this regard. The essay examines Kubrick’s implantation of strange pacing to achieve a hypnotic, dreamlike affect that lures the viewer into the movie’s world. The narrative pacing is surpassed by the awkward slowness of the film’s dialogue. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman often speak with pauses and beats in between words. As the video puts it, “”Listening to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman speak is like watching a dripping faucet.”
Watch the video essay below for more reasons why “Eyes Wide Shut” is Kubrick’s immersive masterpiece.