Tom Cruise’s Dr. Bill Harford in “Eyes Wide Shut” is Kubrick’s second type of hero. He’s a bit of a dope but takes himself absolutely seriously, never looks inside, at least not as deeply as he should. A film noir undercurrent runs through most if not all of Kubrick’s films. His first two feature films, the war fable “Fear and Desire” and the boxing potboiler “Killer’s Kiss”, were stylistically rooted in the dark – “Fear and Desire”, like “Paths of Glory” and “Full Metal Jacket”. Is terse, harsh narrative, linking it to Kubrick’s most overtly black film, his breakthrough “The Killing.” The film noir hero tends to be a smart, ambitious, and horny guy who lets his excitement wash over his judgment. Dr. Bill is a cuckold black hero, deceived not in fact, but in his own imagination. And, like a black hero, he is drawn into a sexual / criminal conspiracy, one involving the buying of young women for anonymous orgies with wealthy older men. He is always a step back from the architects of the plan, whoever he is, and he’s never smart enough or observant enough to prove he saw what he saw.
It’s Bill, a cinematic cousin of someone like Fred MacMurray in “Double Indemnity” or William Hurt in “Body Heat,” but with blue balls, prowling the city streets on the edge of the Christmas knife, constantly mocked and humiliated, his heterosexuality and masculinity, even his essential sexuality, called into question at every turn.
The Doctor’s Nightly Odyssey (like “2001”, this movie is indebted to Homer) begins after he smokes pot with his gorgeous young wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) and she confesses a momentary longing for a sailor so powerful that she briefly considered throwing. her stable life just to have it. The revelation of the intensity of his wife’s sexual thirst for a social body other than himself (fear and desire indeed) frees him from the moorings of his comfortable existence, and sends him to careening in the city, where he meets women. all of which seem to represent aspects of his wife, or his reductive view of her; they even have a similar hair color, and if there are any men in their life (like Sidney Pollack’s Victor Ziegler, who calls Bill to deal with a young woman who overdosed on a speedball in her life). company; or Millich (Rade Serbedjia), the pathologically controlling and jealous costume store owner who accuses Bill of wanting to sleep with his teenage daughter (Leelee Sobieski).
It still seems astonishing that Cruise, among the most controlling modern stars, gave himself to Kubrick so completely, letting himself be thrown into such a sexually groping and base-schmucky part, almost like the sort of thing Matthew Broderick could have been able to do. to play. laughs more obvious (Kubrick originally wanted Steve Martin to be Bill). Cruise built his star image by playing handsome, fearless, arrogant, ultra-straight young men who mastered the skills or the job they set out to do, whether it was flying fighter jets, driving race cars, play pool, bartender, practice law, represent athletes, or be a secret agent. Offscreen, the actor has long been suspected of being locked away – a rumor amplified by his hyper-controlling relationships with a succession of spouses facing audiences who read, from afar, less like wives than symbols of wives – and he sued media that implied he was more than a slice of lady-loving corn-fed American beef cake, 100% USDA inspected (hence the infamous “South Park” of 2006 “Tom won’t come out of the closet“Scene).