Basic Instinct (1992)

It’s very hard to figure out whether “Basic Instinct” is a big-budget B-movie with retrograde attitudes towards women’s sexuality, or a quasi-meta parody of one. Either way, Paul Verhoeven’s famously sleazy blockbuster is unlike anything else, and for that reason alone it’s worth a watch for cinema fans. Sharon Stone’s star-making performance is just as captivating today as it was upon original release: It’s like Stone is playing Catherine Tramell as Madonna, and it’s hard to ever take her character seriously because she only exists as a manifestation of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas’ insecurities about women. Speaking of the screenplay, it’s one of the laziest around, treating the titillation of sexuality with all the maturity of a giggly teenager, but Verhoeven makes the whole thing interesting by going doubling down on the screenplay’s trashy excess, and the finished product is an often-shockingly graphic, charismatically acted potboiler that proudly wears its artifice on its sleeve.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s