January 25, 2011 61 Comments
Eyes Wide Shut is a film that failed to live to the expectations of many. It was supposed to be an edgy thriller that made statements about upper echelon decadence, while also utilizing the real world sex life of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a kind of doorway bridging the gap between reality and fantasy – something that does come up in other Kubrick films, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. In this Kubrick film, however, we have a statement about who runs the “show.” The show is both the film itself, as well as reality, and Kubrick wants viewers to realize that reality is run by our present showmasters of the videodrome. The viewer is supposed to reflect upon the decadence of the Eastern elite establishment, but also notice that viewing the film itself is homage to present social hypocrisy, since the film is a wannabe voyeuristic step into the sex lives of others. In this regard, it functions as an initiation. None of the other analysts and commenters have really noticed this. Virtually every review I have read sees it as some elaborate “MKULTRA/Illuminati” mind control thing (as is supposedly everything on those sites), while other reviews from professors and academia see it as a social or psychological commentary.
I think it has elements of all this, but the real goal is, I believe, an initiation process. The viewer is at the film because he or she is curious about Hollywood secrets and elite lives. Think of all the silly gossip magazines we have. The “average Joe” went to see the film for a glimpse of Nicole Kidman, and Kubrick wants the viewer to see the hypocrisy in such an action, given that most people will “judge” the film’s secret society cult. Eyes Wide Shut, then, is a descriptor of the audience, as well as the characters in the film, who don’t really understand the socio-political power base that runs things. The power base is not, according to Kubrick’s film, the average politician or wealthy doctor or lawyer in New York. Indeed, this is precisely Kidman and Cruise’s characters’ status: they are unwitting inductees. Thus throughout the film, the viewers eyes are wide shut to the reality of the power structure, just as Kidman and Cruise’s characters are, until the end, when they have their eyes “opened,” as they both say at the end. Let us proceed.
The opening scene shows us Mrs. Harford (Nicole Kidman) between two pillars. This is the doorway to the initiation, in other words. The two pillars figure prominently in Freemasonry as the entranceway to the divine, as borrowed from Solomon’s temple: