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Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK


Eyes wide open for Kubrick finale

Don't look now: Kidman and Cruise in Tokyo earlier this week

American moviegoers are finally being given the opportunity to decide for themselves whether Stanley Kubrick's psycho-erotic thriller Eyes Wide Shut lives up to the slow marketing tease.

The BBC's Tom Brook: "A sophisticated art house picture"
The movie starring Hollywood superstar couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman has just gone on general release in US cinemas.

Some expect it to be highbrow soft porn - Kubrick enthusiasts anticipate a final masterpiece.

BBC entertainment correspondent Tom Brook says Eyes Wide Shut has been marketed as a sexually provocative film - but in reality it's more of a sophisticated art house picture about a man consumed by jealousy and paranoia.

[ image: Eyes Wide Shut:
Eyes Wide Shut: "More sophisticated art house than titillating"
He adds: "It has Tom Cruise playing a far more complex character in a film which doesn't deliver as much titillating sex as the advertising suggests - or what mainstream audiences might expect."

"The early word on Eyes Wide Shut is that while it may not be a Kubrick classic it definitely reflects his cinematic mastery."

John Hiscock, writing in The Daily Telegraph, said: "The audience was both intrigued and shocked by its explicit sex and nudity.

"The film pushes the boundaries of sex on screen to new limits, while veering between erotica and melodrama."

But Victoria Newton of The Sun said some scenes of lesbian romps, orgies and endless nudity will shock audiences but most do not involve Cruise and Kidman.

"My eyes were left wide shut," she added. "I was expecting full-on nudity, endless sex - and the thrill of watching Hollywood's most famous couple at it.

"But it was not to be. The raunchy trailer which has been shown around the world is the sexiest part."

The story

The final film from legendary director Kubrick, is based on the 1926 novella by Arthur Schnitzler called Traumnovelle (Dream Story).

[ image: Casual Cruise and scantilly-clad Kidman at the LA premiere]
Casual Cruise and scantilly-clad Kidman at the LA premiere
The story revolves around Dr William Harford (Cruise), a fashionable physician and his wife, Alice (Kidman), however jealousy fuels sexual obsession destabilising their marriage.

With all the buzz, plus the star power of Cruise and Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut is likely to be Kubrick's highest-grossing film and has a good shot at topping $100 million.

Kubrick's previous best was an estimated $50 million for 2001: A Space Odyssey, followed by Full Metal Jacket at $46m and The Shining at $44m.

US moviegoers will see a slightly altered version to fend off a dreaded adults-only NC-17 rating.

Kubrick digitally added clothed orgy-goers to block some explicit sex scenes during 65 seconds of footage, earning the movie an R rating.

The racier version will be shown in the UK from September with an 18 certificate.

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