This is Kubrick’s final film before he died and it is one of the taglines for this film was “Cruise. Kidman. Kubrick.” Well one out of three ain’t bad. Cruise and Kidman have little on-screen chemistry (at this point they were married) and their general acting is somewhat ropey.
Visually, it’s a treat. The first thing you will notice is the lighting. It is extravagant to say the least, seemingly using only incidental lighting (ie lighting from sources that would “naturally” be there). Each scene is beautiful and often drenched in colour.
Musically, it begins with some classical music and surprisingly, one rock track. But as the film progresses and the tension builds, the specially written score kicks in and is extremely unnerving. The single ringing piano notes make the whole thing unbearable, before petering off and the whole thing calms down for a moment.
This film was somewhat controversial for its numerous and explicit sex scenes and graphic nudity from the outset. In America, a lot of these scene were cut out which could only have a severely detrimental effect on the film, being an integral part of the film and all.
At two and a half hours long, I was reluctant to commit the time, but honestly it just flew by and when it ended I was surprised, having expected at least another hour of film.
I’m reluctant to go into the plot in to any detail if only because I don’t think it will improve the enjoyment of watching the film.
I’ve never been a big fan of Kubrick but I thought this was a great film, certainly his most enjoyable that I’ve seen. Yet it only got 7.2 on IMDB. Perhaps I’m a philistine, perhaps the reviewers are snobs. Who knows? Watch it and judge for yourselves.