Damn that was a hell of a film. I couldn’t even sleep last night last night, as my trying to unravel Stanley Kuberick’s last gem kept me up all night. However, it’s still not my favorite Kuberick movie (which goes to either Barry Lyndon or The Shining) and is flawed yet FILLED with perfect moments. My biggest criticisms of this film are the beginning I found to be slower for a Kuberick film (especially next to Barry Lyndon) as I found that the conversational editing was a bit sluggish despite the amazing performances. The ending revelation I found to be underwhelming too given the lack of other suspects and who the actor was.
ALTHOUGH I saw a video on how the whole film could just be a dream which may help that flow a bit easier…. or be a cheap cop out for a lesser Kuberick. Time will tell. Also….dat ass I’m sorry I know that there’s a lot going on in this movie and looking at it while using terms like dat ass is doing it a major disservice, but ……DAT ASS. Thank you, Nicole Kidman. After being so objectifying though I do want to praise Kidman’s amazing performance from an actor who always knocks it out of the park. Also, in terms of nullifying my objectification comment and the erotic opus that this was hyped as that Tom Cruise wasn’t shown naked at all, where’s the equal representation?
I also can’t believe that I forgot how AMAZING Kuberick or his cinematographer’s camerawork is. Each scene really traps you in Tom Cruise’s character’s metaphorical and potentially literal nightmare. The lighting and use of color is spectacular too from cloudy cooling blues to intense reds and more the coloration is intoxicating. The supporting characters and actors are spectacular, I don’t remember his actor from anything, but Nick Nightingale was a spectacular character, Alan Cuming (from Spy Kids, Josie and The Pussycats and Goldeneye) is also spectacular as ever, Rade Serbedzija (from Batman Begins, Mission Impossible 2, X-Men First Class and more) came out of nowhere but gave a great weird performance, finally masterful director Sydney Pollack (director of The Firm, Out of Africa, Tootsie, The Electric Horseman and more) was also great as Cruise’s character’s friend.
As I said the conversational editing isn’t the strongest, but that only lasts for about the first fifth or so and the exceptional lighting compensates. The film really starts to come into its own when Tom Cruise stumbles onto the piano player setting up the fascinating psychedelic noir mystery. That’s definitely the strongest part of the film as once that starts the intrigue goes from 70 to 300 as the surreal dreamlike nature of the film truly kicks in.
I also loved the subtle use of Chris Isaak’s classic tune Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing which really helps elevate the eroticism of the flick while just being a classically under rated 1990’s song. The last line of the film is also very memorable, and I love that it’s an awesomely anti Christmas Christmas movie. The movie, much like many Kuberick classics is very progressive discussing in the 1990’s an issue that has only recently been taking major effect.
I also want to very much commend Tom Cruise’s performance which feels like his take on a Patrick Bateman type of douche bag while remaining ever intriguing. I wish that Cruise would do more roles like his “edgy” era (including this film, Magnolia, Vanilla Sky and Collateral) especially now that the Mission Impossible franchise is at its height to sustain him financially too. Finally, this movie depressed me in that this film sees Kuberick use so many creative choices (including his trippy color usage, pop song usage and A list directing that really paid off). Overall, I may consider this an overlooked masterpiece in time, however I HIGHLY recommend this cult classic.