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Sometimes, when I tell someone of my interest in Kubrick, they will briefly brighten and then suddenly grow dour before asking, “What did you think of Eyes Wide Shut?” It is not for nothing. This film was and still is reviled by many in the public and the critical establishment. Is it Tom Cruise? Is it the couple’s lavish life? Is it the nature of Dr. Bill’s odyssey into the manors of the superrich, where women are still treated like chattel? It can’t be Nicole Kidman or her character, Alice Harford, who stonily confesses an ulterior life of desire, can it? Its threats are multiple, with the fabric of the Western privileged life taken to task. Since the wife doesn’t have to work to keep them financially afloat, these are people who can afford to cheat on each other, who can afford to let their dreams almost destroy the life they have. At root, the film demonstrates how the moneyed life of doctors, of stars, of people living on Central Park West — that the poor and middle classes look up to and seek to be — is largely a sham of shallowness. Given this, it’s easy to see why so many people dislike the film, and beyond that, why men and women have a bone to pick. More… “Unappeasable and Peregrine”

Greg Gerke’s work has appeared in Tin House, Film Quarterly, The Kenyon Review, and other publications. See What I See, a book of essays, and, Especially the Bad Things, stories, will both published by Splice in the Autumn of 2019.

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