The marital drama from the turn of the century possesses a present-day relevance which, despite liberalization, the breaking down of taboos and changes in moral values, has not lost any of its intensity the yearning for intimacy in a satisfying relationship, but also its simultaneous endangering by our unconscious desires, feelings and fantasies. Arthur Schnitzler, who was a medical doctor by profession, was admired by Freud for his knowledgeable descriptions of psychic processes.
Kongenial sound: Chi mai by Morricone.
Kubrick creates coherence in his films in subtle ways. The number on the protagonist’s number-plate is 9987. This number refers to the year of production of his penultimate film, Full Metal Jacket (1987), and simultaneously to the film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
The film was described by some reviewers and partially marketed as an erotic thriller, a categorization disputed by others. It is classified as such in the book The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema by Linda Ruth Williams, and was described as such in two news articles about Cruise and Kidman’s lawsuit over assertions they saw a sex therapist during filming.
One review panning the film disparaged it as an erotic thriller implying the genre was inherently disreputable, although positive reviews such as the one in High-Def Digest also called it an erotic thriller.
However, reviewing the film on AboutFilm.com, Carlo Cavagna regards this as a misleading classification, as does Leo Goldsmith writing on notcoming.com and the review on Blu-ray.com did the same.
Writing in TV Guide, Maitland McDonagh writes “No one familiar with the cold precision of Kubrick’s work will be surprised that this isn’t the steamy erotic thriller a synopsis (or the ads) might suggest.”
Writing in general about the genre of ‘erotic thriller’ for CineAction in 2001, Douglas Keesey states that the film “whatever its actual type … [was] at least marketed as an erotic thriller”.