Review - Eyes Wide Shut: Music from the Motion Picture (CD-1999)
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Eyes Wide Shut - Soundtrack

Listen to the MP3 (3:10) 2.17 mb


Eyes Wide Shut – Music from the Motion Picture (1999)

Warner/ Sunset/ Reprise Records

Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski


After a nearly interminable wait of several years, Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut has finally arrived, and, with it, a soundtrack album CD from Warner/Sunset/Reprise Records.


The CD is entitled simply--Music from the Motion Picture Eyes Wide Shut—there is no mention of Kubrick on the CD cover— possibly because he died before the album may have been assembled.  A recent photo of Kubrick does, however, grace the back cover of the album, and, make no mistake, the music he has selected is very Kubrickian indeed.


The music is also eclectic, as eclectic as his music choices for A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and 2001 to name a few.  For Eyes Wide Shut, his tale of jealousy and sexual obsession Kubrick has drawn on a wide range, from classical composers Shostakovich and Liszt, classical avant-garde composer Gyorgy Ligeti, to film composer Jocelyn Pook.  He also selected dance music by Duke Ellington, Oscar Levant, Victor Young, Eddie Snyder and others, as well as a pop song by Chris Isaak.


The music is perhaps slightly more subtle and relevant than Kubrick has used in the past but no less effective.


Several sequences contain original music by Jocelyn Pook whose contribution is eerie and atmospheric, and whose underscoring of the film’s central orgy sequence is evocative of a black mass. 


The dance numbers are used during the film’s opening party sequence and a later masked ball.  The big band era style and the general demeanor of the guests at these two events  are reminiscent of the ghosts in  The Shining— and indeed, this film’s other worldly dreamlike quality in general is enhanced by the music used.


Gyorgy Ligeti is famous for his eerie atonal compositions used to striking effect in 2001.  In Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick employs a piano piece by Ligeti and the simple, persistent, pounding two- or three-note piano motif creates an incredible underlying tension.


That selection, along with a Shostakovich waltz used may be the music choices best remembered from the film.  Kubrick has always had a knack for selecting music which no one else thought of using and which fits in an unusual and striking way.  Eyes Wide Shut is no exception and alongside its music are images as brilliant as any Kubrick has offered---images which continue to haunt the viewer long after the film has ended.


Warner Records’ soundtrack CD of Eyes Wide Shut, is a splendid, if unevenly assembled, souvenir of a strange and remarkable film, the concluding opus of Stanley Kubrick whose sudden, unexpected passing was but a prelude to the release of his final haunting cinematic masterwork.


 1999 Dennis Kwiatkowski/Celluloid Dreams



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