On its 20th anniversary, Ed Power reflects on a film that was unflinching in its insights into sexuality and brusque about matters of the heart – to a degree unthinkable in mainstream entertainment today
It was the fastest "yes" Tom Cruise ever uttered. Late in 1995, the world's biggest movie star travelled by helicopter to Childwickbury Manor in Hertfordshire. Waiting on the expansive lawn was director Stanley Kubrick, who'd lived semi-reclusively in the 18th-century pile since 1978. So began their great adventure together making Eyes Wide Shut, the eternally divisive psycho-sexual meditation released 20 years ago in the UK this week.
A still potent mystique hangs over Eyes Wide Shut. That's partly down to the subject matter. When the glamorous wife (Nicole Kidman) of a successful doctor (Cruise) confesses the desire she felt for a stranger months previously, he plunges down a whirlpool of jealousy.