Co-Writer/Director: Stanley Kubrick
Running time: 159 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18
UK Release date: 10th September 1999
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 17th July 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This was Stanley Kubrick’s last film and I thought it an apt one for my 400th review. It’s maybe not his greatest work, but you can still see the hand of the master in this one. His attention to detail is second to none and you’ll struggle to find anything out of place in any shot. As for the plot, well, it’s all very psychological and quite complicated, but worth sticking with. If you’re bothered by nudity, which few people are these days, but even so, this one may not be to everyone’s taste. I’ll attempt to give you a brief summary and then some of my thought afterwards.
Bill Harford and his wife, Alice, live together with their daughter, Helena, in an apartment in New York. They are quite well off, Bill is a doctor and they enjoy many of the good things in life. And yet they are not happy. After an argument about sexuality, Bill sets out (to put it in basic terms) get laid. Events conspire against him and he fails, but a conversation with a friend, a musician, Nick Nightingale, leads him to a very strange party. Everyone is wearing cloaks and masks and it seems almost everyone is having sex. One of the women there tries to warn him that he may be in danger and he makes to leave, but too late, he is called before their leader to explain himself. Here I will leave my brief summary… Thought I’d leave you on a bit of a cliff-hanger this time.
At two hours and forty minutes, this is one of the longest movies I’ve seen. It has a very slow and deliberate pace that, at times, can be a little annoying, but stick with it. To be honest, I had to take a little fifteen minute break in the middle or I wouldn’t have made it to the end. The pay-off in the end may not be to everyone’s liking and some my even see it as a let-down, but I thought it was ok.
As far as performances go, well, Tom Cruise proved that he can do more than stupid action/spy movies as Dr. William 'Bill' Harford. And Nicole Kidman put in a great performance as his wife, Alice. Sydney Pollack was good as Victor Ziegler and Todd Field was also decent as Nick Nightingale.
This film has gained a bit of notoriety for the sex scenes in it and, yes, there are sex scenes but there’s nothing that breaks any decency laws. I found the film hard going in places but stuck with it. The music is really great too; just listen to the music playing in the background in places and you’ll hear some melodies you might just recognise. It’s probably the least favourite of the Kubrick films I’ve seen to date, but it’s still worth a viewing (if you can clear a long enough time-slot)… Recommended.
My Score: 7.3/10