The arrest of billionaire influence peddler Jeffrey Epstein for the alleged repeated and systematic trafficking and sexual assault of underage girls is more than an indictment of a sexual predator. It’s also compelling evidence of corruption among the most powerful political and business interests in the United States. But public knowledge is, so far, founded as much on horrifying insinuation as actual evidence.
Art can suffice, by capturing the psychic sensation of an uncertain moment, so we might observe and improve our own fumbling efforts at reconciling ourselves to the world. But there is also the comforts of conspiracy theory: extrapolating from what’s known to create an imagined order, built from clues inscrutable to most. Stanley Kubrick’s final movie, Eyes Wide Shut, is embraced from both directions. Baffling critics and audiences in 1999, Eyes Wide Shut has become a defining movie of the Jeffrey Epstein era.
In Eyes Wide Shut, Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) and his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman), explore the possibilities of infidelity, newly possible with their entrance into high society, which lifts them from a state of childish naiveté, until Bill’s explorations bring him to places he will never be allowed. In the movie’s central sequence, Bill, stung by his wife recounting a sexual fantasy, follows an old friend to a secretive event at a Long Island mansion, where he gains entry to a masked orgy with a password. He is found and turned out. Because of his actions, or possibly not, a woman dies under suspicious circumstances.
Kubrick’s 1999 death of a heart attack, just six days after screening a completed Eyes Wide Shut, left an opening for a conspiracy narrative to grow in the cracks of the movie’s ambiguities. In part because it is replete with occult imagery, like a pyramid-faced mask (oozing the same Illuminati energy as the dollar bill), Eyes Wide Shut is subject to the same kind of analysis that lead people to conclude Kubrick faked the moon landing, then revealed his deception to the world on Danny Torrance’s sweater in The Shining. – READ MORE