Sex! Sex! Sex!
Although I had read a number of reviews, they really didn’t convey any sense of the movie’s plot. Instead, the press harped on its stars, Tom Cruise and wife Nicole Kidman, the abundant nudity, the sex (one critic referred to it as Legs Wide Open), and the fact that Kubrick died before its premiere. The plot, however, is quite interesting, especially in light of the subject matter here. All in all, they were two of the wisest bucks I ever spent.
A physician (Cruise) gets mad at his wife (Kidman) after she confesses her lust for other men. He decides to get even with her by attempting a series of flings, which never seem to pan out. As luck would have it, he runs into an old friend of his, a pianist at a local jazz club. This musician friend then tells him about a side gig that’s really strange. He’s never told when or where it will be until shortly before it happens. Furthermore, he has to play blindfolded throughout, and he needs a password to get in. But on one night, the blindfold was looser than normal, and he managed to sneak a peek. All he could see were a lot of naked women running around with guys in cloaks and masks. The doctor, frustrated because his attempts to commit adultery have met with the success of Wile E. Coyote, thinks that anywhere naked women roam like that can’t be all bad. He convinces the musician to help him get in.
Doc buys the required costume and mask, and then takes a cab out to a plush estate. He enters a sprawling mansion where a room full of people don the same disguise. Inside, a ceremony takes place. Kneeling on the floor are ten cloaked women. A shaman of some type utters an incantation in a strange language while Doc’s friend provides the music. The women then stand up, disrobe, walk off with various men and an orgy begins. One of the women goes directly to the physician and begs him to leave before he is killed. The doctor, however, isn’t going to miss any of the action, and demands that the naked masked woman reveal her identity. She tells him that she cannot lest she risk certain death. She stresses that he might die too if he doesn’t, for crissakes, leave.
Before he can, he’s caught. The shaman demands that the doctor remove his mask and take off his clothes. The woman who warned him stands before the crowd, and pledges to “redeem him.” They let the doctor go, warning him that if he didn’t forget what he saw, then they would have to kill him and his family. When he asks what will happen to the woman who stood up for him, the shaman replies, “No one can change her fate, now.”
The next day, Doc finds that his musician friend has disappeared. Furthermore, somebody has been following him. He reads in the local paper that a former beauty queen was found dead in an apparent overdose. He recognizes her as one of his former patients, and now fears that she might have been the naked woman in the mask. He is then summoned to a wealthy patient of his, a powerful businessman. The patient confesses that he was one of the people in the mansion that night. He saw everything. He also knew of the doctor’s continuing efforts to find his musician friend, and the woman who redeemed him. The patient reiterates the warning, adding that the people taking part in the ceremony were among the most powerful in the world.
I wonder how many people watching the orgy scene at the theatre had any idea about what Kubrick presented there. After all, have you ever participated in such an event? At a mansion? With the rich and famous?