• Tom Cruise and especially Nicole Kidman turn in committed performances, you’re sucked into their interactions and dilemmas, and they have a solid chemistry.
  • Despite a major element being the two leads’ marriage, Kidman seems to be pushed aside as the plot continues, which is a shame because her early scenes are fantastic.
  • Kidman is stellar in three specific scenes: the best friend’s party, that argument in the bedroom where she lashes out at Cruise, and when she recalls her unsettling premonition-like dream.
  • There are a few interesting side characters, such as the Hungarian gentleman at the party and the colourfully odd Mr Milich.
  • The “masked ball” sequence is extraordinarily captivating, putting you in a firm trance while Jocelyn Pook’s unbelievably haunting score sends chills through the body.
  • Kubrick does well diving into the struggles that comes with marriage, or any relationship in general, covering the likes of trust, doubt, and past mental scars.
  • Larry Smith’s cinematography is mostly great and tends to fit the current mood of the scene, although there are a couple of moments where the camera work is noticeably rough and janky, and distractingly so.
  • The music is wonderful and dignified, with the main theme being memorable, but the repeated piano verses get tiresome after a while.
  • There’s a magnetic drawing power that radiates from the story, sparking quite early on and being maintained for a long time, but unfortunately it begins to waver in the last third; everything after Nicole Kidman’s nightmare is where it struggles.
  • Ultimately the payoff is logically sound yet lackluster, with much build-up spent and headed towards very little, almost as if nothing is resolved, and it goes out on a disappointing whimper.

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