Well Geeks the professor did it! Moriarty slipped the web strung before him and attended the ShoWest presentation for EYES WIDE SHUT. Father Geek has just received his report and will past it on to you with little comment except to say that he uses words like: POWERFUL, PROVOCATIVE, REAL MENACE, VERY CLEARLY R-RATED, and lastly VINTAGE KUBRICK. Great work Doctor! And I will add to that GREAT WORK STANLEY!!! BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!!
Hey, Head Geek (and Father Geek)...
Well, they did it. Warner held true to their promise, and they actually showed the world the first EYES WIDE SHUT footage anywhere today during their giant lunchtime presentation. There's very little chance this will be showing up on ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT any time soon, so read up, everyone. Here's my impressions of what we were shown and how we were shown it.
Warner did their entire lunch without mentioning Kubrick's name once (the report on the whole thing is forthcoming, everyone, I promise), until after the very last trailer was shown.
At that point, a single light came on in the Event Center, and Terry Semel stepped back up to the mic. He began simply, "Before we show the footage from EYES WIDE SHUT, I'd like to clarify a few points about what you're going to see and what we've seen. Last week, Bob, Tom Cruise, Nicole, and myself were fortunate enough to view Stanley's final cut in New York. It is an extraordinary film. We feel very lucky to be able to release it this year." As he spoke, there was obvious emotion in his voice. This was not just business as usual for the man. He was deeply touched by the situation he found himself in. "A few things were obvious from this viewing. First, this is very clearly an R-rated film. Second, this is not just a great piece of cinema... it's a great story about a husband and a wife caught in the grips of sexual obsession. What you are about to see is a segment of a scene, not a trailer. This was specially prepared by Stanley for you, the ShoWest audience. Last Saturday morning, Stanley called me to rehearse exactly what I would say in describing the film. He was obviously excited, and I think it's safe to say that he died with a big grin on his face regarding this project. The world has not just lost a master filmmaker here. We've lost a very important member of the Warner Bros. family, a man I've spoken with constantly over the years. We had a wonderful experience together, and I'm sorry to see these 25 years end. With that in mind, please enjoy your first look at EYES WIDE SHUT."
The lights went down and there was a long moment of silence. Finally, the Warner Bros. logo came up. As it faded to black, the sounds of Chris Isaak's "Baby Done A Bad, Bad Thing" began to play, filling the auditorium. FADE IN on Nicole Kidman standing in front of a mirror, back to the camera. She is completely nude except for a pair of glasses. Thanks to the counter under the mirror, we get a reflected view of her from the waist up. She's dancing slightly, swaying, as she studies herself. One breast, then another comes into view. Tom Cruise steps in from frame right, also nude, shot from the waist up. He moves up close to Nicole, takes her in his arms, and begins to kiss her neck, touch her breasts.
There are three names flashed by suddenly, each against a black background. CRUISE in red. KIDMAN in yellow. KUBRICK in blue.
Back to the same scene. We're a little closer now, moving in on the couple. Tom seems to be passionate about the moment, into it, but Nicole seems removed. She turns so she can study herself in the mirror again, without Cruise being aware of her distraction. She takes off her glasses, her face totally impassive.
Against that black screen again, we see the three names flash by, quicker. CRUISE. KIDMAN. KUBRICK.
Back to the same scene, and we're much closer now to the two of them. Nicole's face almost fills the screen. Tom is just peripheral to the moment. She stays locked on her own eyes in the mirror as the Chris Isaaks song builds to a crescendo, her face a mask.
Suddenly the names flash by one last time, this time so fast they're almost subliminal, and are replaced by EYES WIDE SHUT written in yellow, followed by the date, July 16.
And that was it. What do I get from that? A very strong sense that what we're in for is nothing that American mainstream audiences have ever seen from a major A-list filmmaker with this kind of A-list cast. There's real menace in the image, in the cutting, in the way the song is used. It's powerful, provocative, and showed us absolutely nothing. It was all suggestion, and it was vintage Kubrick.
All in all, it lives up to his reputation and promises real greatness to come. The presentation was confident, brief, in control.
I am honored to have been in Las Vegas today. I deeply, deeply miss Stanley Kubrick already, but I am heartened beyond words at the thought of his last film. The fact that the final cut is what was screened makes me feel even better.
And on a personal note, I want to offer my heartfelt condolences to Kubrick's family and friends and to his professional colleagues past and present. I can only imagine the loss you must feel right now, and it's only compounded by the surge of public discussion of his last piece of work. It must be a very hard time, and I think it was incredibly generous of you to share this glimpse into the Master's last film with us under such circumstances.
I'll have more for you later. Until then...