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USA 1992
Directed by
Paul Verhoeven
127 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Basic Instinct

A huge commercial success, Basic Instinct launched a largely sexploitational career for director Verhoeven whilst Sharon Stone who was immortalized for her underwear-less interview scene has, bar her solid performance in Scorsese's Casino (1995) done little memorable since.

Michael Douglas is no Al Pacino as a troubled police detective who gets involved in the investigation of a kinky murder of a one-time rock star whose sometime girlfriend (Stone) has written a novel in which a virtually identical murder is described. Verhoeven's direction is shamelessly exploitative with a slick mixture of glamour, sex and murder, the film garnering a good deal of opposition from the gay movement because of its depiction of lesbians as homicidal perverts. Critics also found fault with Eszterhas's convoluted script (for which he was paid the then record price of $US3m) which played the whodunit aspect to the very last shot more through stretching credulity than any discernible coherence of character or plot development.

Such criticisms hardly seems relevant for a genre that typically defies probability and the net effect is an entertaining thriller that no-one in their right mind would ever mistake for realism. Stone returned as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct 2 (Michael Caton-Jones, 2006) an essentially gratuitous and leaden re-make of the original film with David Morrissey replacing Michael Douglas.

FYI: If you think there's something familiar about Sharon's Stone's outfits, they were designed to match, in the same order, those that Kim Novak wears in Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). 




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