Thursday, July 23, 2009

Scorp's favorites - 5 - Eyes Wide Shut


Bill kept walking.

He was walking hurriedly, but without any immediate destination or target to reach. He just wanted to walk. He didn’t care about the cold night. All around him, the streets were buzzing, with people trying to make their Christmas purchases. Bill’s mind was numb, and his brain was repeatedly flashing the thought of Alice making love with the Naval officer she was referring in an estranged conversation with Bill, early that night. He can’t get the images away from his brain, as the effect of the marijuana he took still made his mind to think deeply about Alice.

Bill kept walking.

A day before…

Bill and Alice were attending the party of Victor Ziegler, a very rich friend, and a patient of Bill. Alice gets drunk in the party, while Bill meets two models. While Bill talks to the models, a stranger approaches Alice, and invites her to dance with him. She dances, and the stranger gradually tries to take her upstairs to seduce her. Alice is able to deny the offer, out of her love towards her husband, and Bill is able to deny the offer from the models, coz of his love towards Alice. Bill is summoned by Ziegler as a girl gets overdosed with heroine and cocaine. Bill treats the girl, and after she gains consciousness, promises to Ziegler that his lips are sealed.

Bill also meets an old college friend of him, Nick Nightingale, who dropped out from the medical school and now a pianist. Nick invites Bill to the bar where he’ll be playing for the next two weeks, and leaves.

Back home, the next night, while Bill and Alice smoke Marijuana, Alice questions Bill about the two models in the party, and Bill in turn questions Alice about the stranger she was dancing with. Alice slowly reveals about a naval officer she met the previous year during a vacation, and how she yearned for him. She says she was ready to spend a night with him, leaving Bill and their daughter. But, out of her love towards Bill and their daughter, she was able to resist the temptation.

Bill becomes frustrated by her open statement, and he gets a call that one of his patients has died. While going to the dead patient’s home, Bill meets the dead man’s daughter, who tries to kiss Bill, revealing her love towards the handsome doctor. Bill leaves the place and he starts to walk in the streets of New York.

Bill meets a girl called Domino, who’s a prostitute, and goes to her home. While kissing the girl, Bill gets a call from Alice and this makes Bill to come out of Domino’s home. Bill pays her, though.

Bill then goes to the bar where Nick Nightingale plays, and while talking with Nick, Nick gets a call. He hurriedly scribbles ‘Fidelio’ in a paper, and tries to leave. Bill persuades Nick to tell him about the word and learns that there is going to be a secret gathering, the password for the entrance being ‘Fidelio’. Bill becomes curious to attend it. Nick tells Bill he can only attend it if he wears a long cloak with a mask, as the identities of the people attending the gathering will not be revealed.

Bill goes to a costume shop of his friend, and learns that his friend has shifted, and meets the new owner. He rents a cloak and a mask, the prerequisites for the meeting.



Bill rents a taxi and goes to the meeting. When he moves in, he learns that it is a huge mass which practices a sexual ritual, where humans enact gods and have sex with females. Everyone is masked inside the house. There are many females in the center of the room, performing the ritual, seated in a circle, and one by one, they are released from the circle, and they pick men from the gathering. One girl approaches Bill and warns him that he is in great danger and he must leave immediately.

While walking inside the house, Bill notices masked people making love in all poses and in all the places inside. Suddenly, he is approached by a masked waiter, and is summoned to the center of the hall. A man in a red cloak questions Bill about the second password to attend the ritual, and Bill replies he has forgotten it. As a result, Bill is ordered to remove his mask. He is further ordered to remove his cloths, when the girl appears and tells that she is ready to accept whatever they are doing to Bill, and Bill must be freed.

As a result, Bill is freed with a warning that if he reveals anyone about the ritual, his entire family will be wiped out. Bill returns home.

The next day, Bill goes to the same house in the morning, and is handed over a letter by someone inside the house. It states that Bill must discontinue all his attempts to find out the secret of the house. Bill returns to meet Nick to know all the secrets, but learns that Nick has checked out very early in the morning. Bill goes to Domino’s apartment again, and learns from Domino’s friend that Domino was declared HIV positive that morning from a blood test. While Bill walks away, he identifies a man following him. While trying to hide, Bill reads a newspaper which states that an ex-beauty queen has died coz of drug overdose, which warns Bill. He goes to the hospital mortuary, and identifies the model as the girl who saved him the previous night, and it was the same girl Bill helped earlier in Ziegler’s party.

Confused, Bill returns from the hospital and is summoned to Ziegler’s home.

What happened to Bill? Did he learn the secrets behind the masked ritual? Why did the girl die? What happened to Bill’s wife Alice?

Try to see the movie and find the answers.

‘Eyes Wide Shut’ is the last film of Stanley Kubrick. He died just after four days of presenting the director’s cut of the movie to Warner bros... Throughout the movie, we can easily take note of Kubrick’s mastermind – the way he has placed the shots and the way he has made the actors to ‘act’ – a point noted here is that the movie took more than 400 days to shoot – That is the mastery of Kubrick, where he creates the movie shot by shot, scene by scene.

The way Tom Cruise’s character has been portrayed - a handsome doctor with a huge female following – reminded me of ‘Parthale Paravasam’, a film by ‘Iyakkunar Imayam’ Balachander where he portrayed madhavan’s character exactly similar to that of Tom Cruise. But that‘s expected from KB. Take a look at ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ – a masterpiece by Ritwik Ghatak and you will absolutely be astounded to see the similarities it holds from ‘Aval Oru Thodargadhai’ by KB.

Sydney Pollack has acted as Ziegler. Nicole Kidman as Alice. The movie holds some fantastic scenes like that of how Bill torments himself by imagining about the love making of the naval officer and his wife and the magnanimous mystic ritual in the middle of the movie – the ritual has an excellent music score which chills the spine, with an eerie sensation.

Two incidents are linked with perfection in the movie. When Bill returns home from the ritual, he finds Alice laughing in her sleep, and Alice tells him she dreamt about standing naked among hundreds of people, who make love within themselves, and after making love to the naval officer, she makes love with many more in her dream. Just hours before, Bill had attended such a ritual in person – he was among the people who were making love with each other. These two layers are linked in the mind of the viewer, through the mastery of Kubrick. He leaves the judgment to the viewer.

To me, it was a great ride of emotions throughout the movie, and I liked it a lot. It has certain allegorical representations as well, but overall, a satisfying experience.

See the trailer here.

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