Matthew Clayfield: which makes EYES WIDE SHUT, to my mind, the only Kubrick picture that ends on such a note of hope (albeit a slightly jaded and cautious one).
I had a rather different interpretation (similar to my reaction to the end of It's a Wonderful Life--the two come to similar
conclusions, come to think of it). If, thanks to Kidman's marijuana-induced moment of honesty, a whole world of erotic possibliites was opened up to Cruise, the rest of the movie was Kubrick's way of demonstrating (comically, magisterially) that that world wasn't open to him.
So when he finally comes back to Kidman and she says "let's fuck," it's not just an affirmation of their marriage; it's an invitation to possibly impregnate her, engender a child, further seal their marriage (and seal off Cruise's sexual freedom) all the more solidly, forever and ever, amen. Those two words are the sound of Cruise's velvet cage clanging shut.
Which may be why it's the one Kubrick film I've liked in a long time.
Kevin John: You don't think Cruise welcomes that invitation after such a horrible descent into hell?
Isn't that the worst part--that he's not only cut off from every avenue of escape, but has (like Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life) lost the will to even try?
It's hell because there's no fulfillment. Cruise is teased, seduced, led towards one tableau or the other, but when he's at the point that he might participate, the possibility is shut down, flat.
Death might be preferable.