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Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) and his wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), are invited (again) to the glamorous, exotic, sexually charged Christmas party given by one of Bill's wealthy patients, Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack). Events and people at the party trigger several actions: Alice reveals a sexually confronting fantasy, which propels Bill into unchartered sexual territory away from her. The seed of her untamed feelings and his imagination become a heady brew that he massages in his imagination, which lands him in compromising circumstances – an orgy among masked and mysterious strangers in a remote mansion. His fascination for stray sex – as an antidote for his wife’s fantasies - is stymied by his reluctance. And the mind is a powerful player: it doesn’t always stay in tune with the heart.

"Kubrick's final dazzling work is dark, complex and filled with intrigue. Its intellectually erotic themes are haunting, while Cruise and Kidman embrace the fantasies that compel us on an emotional witch-hunt. It seems fitting to watch this intensely personal exploration in the privacy of home.

Not surpringly, the special features are just that – special. The lengthy interviews with Cruise and Kidman are astoundingly personal, as they talk about Stanley Kubrick, the man, the mentor and the genius. Cruise talks about the first time he met the filmmaker, the circumstances and the magical relationship they struck. It's a thoughtful Tom Cruise: his answers and thoughts are both revealing and moving. Kidman is also emotional in her responses, and we get a genuine feeling of the mood that evolved from this obviously special relationship between the three artists. She admits how insecure she was at first, and how over time, Kubrick gave her confidence as an actor, allowing her the freedom to get lost in the character of Alice. I was quite moved by both their responses. Kidman says she initially thought 'He's kinda scruffy' and talks about his hooded eyes that conceal a mischievous quality. They both discuss his death with raw emotion. You may be surprised to find that there is also an interview with Steven Spielberg, who talks about their relationship from their first meeting, after Kubrick had made The Shining. There's an intimacy about all of this, which is apt.

Navigation is simple, as is the menu's production design. The emphasis is simplicity, starkness with a bewildering suggestion of voyeurism. There are two trailers to watch, subtitles in four languages, and information about the cast and crew.

This is a DVD for the collector, a film to watch again and again. After all, as Spielberg says, Kubrick's works respond to repeated viewings. They are compelling: the more you watch, the more you are intrigued."
Louise Keller

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CAST: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman

DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick

RUNNING TIME: 153 minutes

DVD Distributor: Warner Home Video

DVD Release: May 9, 2000


We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.


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