Director Anna Ledwich has no need of the resources which Stanley Kubrick had
at his disposal when he transferred Austrian Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926
novella Dream Story to celluloid and renamed it Eyes Wide Shut.
surprisingly, given the content, his disconcerting extravaganza of erotic
fantasy and humiliation signalled the end of the relationship of its stars,
Tom Cruise and his then wife Nicole Kidman.
With the help of designer Helen Goddard, Ledwich has created a darkly
claustrophobic world of sexual misadventure where Luke Neal’s Fridolin, a
troubled Viennese doctor, confronts the carnal desires he has kept firmly
under wraps until his wife Albertine (Leah Muller) admits to a seemingly
harmless fantasy and forces an equivalent confession from him.
Instead of the psychoanalytic theory one would expect from his contemporary,
Freud, Schnitzler graphically charts Fridolin’s subsequent nightmarish
journey (in which it is never clear how much is real, how much imagined)
which threatens the apparent stability of his marriage.
quality is accentuated by the doubling of roles, the anonymous sadism of a
masked ball held in the early hours, and the ambiguous, fluctuating nature
of the characters whom he encounters on his odyssey – the women (a bereaved
daughter, a whore and a prostituted young woman) played by Rebecca Scroggs
and the men by a sinister Jon Foster.
With its sliding marital bed and shadowy exits and entrances, this foray
into the private, sordid mindscape of a respectable man – and his growing
fear of the hold it has on him – proves both uncomfortable and compelling.
Gate, Pembridge Road W11 3HQ
020 7229 0706
Tube: Notting Hill Gate
Until 16th July
– Louise Kingsley