I admit that I'm one of the few who loves Eyes Wide Shut so much that I consider it my favorite film from Stanley Kubrick. However, I'm also aware of some of the issues people have with it, and I wanted to see how others would try to fix it, leading me to this one.
All in all, this was a pretty good edit. There are things that I personally would never have done. For example, the Marion subplot feels so tacked-on, especially in its edited form. I also think that the coffee table scene is the most pointless scene in the film, and I was disappointed to see it remain intact. But with that said, this is... Pretty good.
The changes in approach take a little getting used to, but I see what Gatos is trying to accomplish. From a stylistic standpoint, this edit felt more like an indie film than a Stanley Kubrick film. This might bother those who want that "pure Kubrickian" feel, but if you're willing to get past that, it works. The changes to the ending were effective, and left a much darker finish than what we got theatrically. The choice to make the infamous Somerton scene the bridge between the 1st and 2nd act gives this edit a slow burn kind of feel, and that's mostly a good thing.
Overall, while I do recommend this edit, I will echo plurmonger's comments that this is more an edit for those who like the thriller part of the film and not so much the romance part. And yes, I will confirm that Nicole Kidman's character barely exists in this edit. If that bothers you, then go search for something else. However, if all that I've mentioned above sounds like your thing, I recommend giving this one a viewing!
I've always really liked Eyes Wide Shut, even though it is a very long and deliberately paced film. While its length never bothered me, I was fascinated by the idea of an hour and a half version and wondered if that would even work. Yes, as it turns out, it does work, but it's not at all the same film. What Gatos has done here is cut over an hour from the international cut of the film in order to "make a version...that [he] would like to watch." It's really solid work, too. He's done a fine job of keeping everything coherent and focused while stripping away large chunks of the plot that don't fit his vision for this cut. It's all surprisingly well-paced, the scenes that were shortened were done so at ideal moments, and the whole thing ends at just the right spot (really, kudos for that, very elegant). The problem for me is that apparently Gatos and I have different ideas about what makes Eyes Wide Shut interesting in the first place. I've always felt that the most engaging scenes were the ones between Bill and Alice Harford. Stanley Kubrick famously put Tom and Nicole through the ringer while shooting the film, and all of that tension comes across on screen. In "The Fidelio Edition," Nicole Kidman is barely in the movie at all. Her character is not as important to the story that Gatos' version is trying to tell, but her absence was a major disappointment for me. What we're left with is a pretty straightforward thriller, but without the lingering tension and resultant psychological turmoil of those earlier domestic scenes, it comes across as kind of flat. It's not that it doesn't work, it's just that, for me, it's not nearly as engrossing.
The DVD had a nice presentation with good sound and picture. As Gatos has noted in the description, there is quite a lot of film grain, but as this is a particularly grainy film to begin with, I really see no problem at all. Blacks are deep and colors pop; it's as fine a picture as you could expect from a DVD5. Sound was perfectly satisfactory as well, nicely and consistently balanced with audible dialogue throughout. As far as editing goes, I only noticed a couple of minor issues. The sound dropped out for a second on a couple of edits, but that was it for sound. The other thing is a little tougher. The next evening after Ziegler's party, Alice asks about wrapping the rest of the presents, and an exhausted Bill says they should put it off until tomorrow. Suddenly, the scene ends, and Bill is on his way out that very night. Considering what happens between those two scenes, I'm not sure how you'd fix it, but the way it played out here was pretty jarring/confusing, especially considering we don't see Alice again until the very end of the film.
Overall, I respect the hell out of what Gatos has done here, even if I don't particularly enjoy it. But if you also feel like the masked party and the following investigation were the best parts of Eyes Wide Shut and were bored with everything else, this just might be the cut for you.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyJuly 01, 2013
Thanks for watching and I appreciate you taking the time to write a lengthy review.
The transition you refer to (after the wrapping of the presents) was a tough obstacle for this edit. I handled it as best I could. I can understand how you think its confusing/jarring but in my opinion I'm not quite sure why the fact that you don't see Alice again until the end of the movie adds to the confusion of the transition.
This is just my opinion, not trying to get defensive but simply want to explain my interpretation of the way that transition plays out (obviously this is biased). We cut from Bill saying finish it tomorrow to an elevator ding and the doors opening and Bill exiting the elevator. It only takes a few minutes after the scene develops for the viewer to understand why he is there. Anyway, that's just my feeling on it.
Thanks again for your thoughtful and honest review!