Ah yes, the movie that stirred so much controversy back in the early 90’s all thanks to Sharon Stone’s muff being shown on screen, Stone’s and Jeanne Tripplehorn’s T&A showing up, and both Stone and Tripplehorn being fucked by no one else but unlucky sex addict Michael Douglas in the second of his “man haunted by dangerous beauty” trilogy (the others being Fatal Attraction and Disclosure). Yeah, everybody bends over this film because it’s thrilling and its packed with sexual shit, but people tend to forget that Erotic thrillers don’t make much of a genre and that Basic Instinct’s sex scenes are nothing else but mere plot devices so you don’t have to strain your eyes so much with what is basically a stupid, predictable piece of garbage.Ok, so this film is about a “healthy, average, totally fucked-up cop” called Nick Curran whom gets into the investigation of a murdered retired rock and roll star called Johnny Boz, along with his best friend detective Gus Moran (George Dzundza). The last time he was seen was with his girlfriend or “fuck buddy” Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a brilliant writer and psychologist with an insatiable sexual appetite whom actually happens to have written a novel describing the very same killing that took place. Nick, whom has a tormented past due to his accidental killing of two tourists, is a recovering alcoholic and smoker (but not for long!), thanks to his caring Psychologist and “fuck buddy” Dr. Elizabeth Gardner (Jeanne Tripplehorn). All evidence (though nothing physical) points towards Tramell’s guilt, but Tramell has so many past connections including one with Dr. Gardner when they were at Berkeley that Nick begins to doubt somewhat that Catherine did the killing (maybe some fanatic), as well as the fact that Nick falls for Catherine and deeper into her mysterious past. As more bodies start to pile up, Nick must rely on his Basic Instincts (hence the title) to find out who the killer really is, since everyone seems to be a suspect and if you’re not a dullard, you’ll immediately know who it is right from the first frame.
"You’ll get off before you get off"
Oh man, this film is so pathetic, first of all because it tries to show you how clever it is, with the so many obvious curves that it throws you, all concerned with Catherine’s past, it’s hard to take this film seriously like it wants us to. All that has going for it are the sex scenes and with this, like other erotic thrillers, is just a cheap shot of showing flesh at the expense of hideous filmmaking. The script was written by nobody else but Joe “I’m-the-highest-paid-therefore-greatest-screenwriter-in-Hollywood,-no-really” Eszterhas, and of course, this hack puts all his sleazy shit-ass fantasies in full throttle while giving you also a ride full of pretensions, some pretty funny-ass one-liners, and some pretty obvious plot-holes that will have you head shaking like “doh.” The dialogue has its moments though like the “charging with smoking” leitmotif, as well as the “what book are you talking about/private joke, asshole” line.
The whole movie is completely given away in the first frame in the first sex scene of the movie, that is as long as you’re paying attention to detail and not to your dick that you’re hammering during this scene, and like fellow colleague Ryan Arthur said: if you didn’t see the killer from a mile away then frankly, you’re an idiot. Every single plot device or “twist” that comes after will simply add more to the lack of credibility and utter stupidity of the story. All the cops are seen as complete morons (they’ve all have to study criminal psychology you know?). The whole mystery about Tramell’s life, which includes her parent’s death due to their boat exploding just adds more shit to the shinola: Catherine’s knowledge of Nick (before Nick even meets her), the sale of Nicks file by IA officer Nilsen (Daniel Von Bargen), the Tramel/Gardner/Hoberman connection at Berkley University, the lost police report, etc, etc, etc. I mean, for Christ sake, you got to be nuttier than a 20 pound Christmas fruitcake to not see the obvious, and not see where this fucking movie is going for. And when the flesh starts to appear and Nick “head-up-his-ass” Curran starts falling for Catherine, you’ll just want to laugh or cringe. Then there are some scenes thrown in just for cheap thrills which take away whatever credibility this film had, like the stupid highway chase between Catherine and Nick and the other chase between Roxy and Nick, though in second thought that one had quite a beginning. Esztehras though, scored a big one with this, since the masses are so fucking ignorant and animalistic that they watched it for the titillation and passable-if-not-utter-shit” story and thanks to this, became the highest paid hack responsible for bringing us Showgirls, Jade, Sliver and an Alan Smithee Film. Paul Verhoeven though manages to do his best here, with some nice production values and some fine cinematography by Jan De Bont but not enough to save this film. The editing was pretty good courtesy of Frank J. Urioste and Jerry Goldsmith’s score is actually very good and well made, though I wish it would’ve been for a different film.
As for the sex scenes, yeah, they’re nice to look at, just wish it would be LITTLE bit more realistic since they somewhat make me bust out in giggles. But wait, ACTORS HAVE TO ACT, THEY CAN’T FUCK FOR REALS OTHERWISE IT WOULDN’T BE RIGHT! Oh well. If you ask me though, in terms of passion, I enjoyed more Nick fucking Beth than Nick fucking Tramell, which makes me think that the whole Douglas/Stone fucking is somewhat overrated.
The cast is on autopilot: Michael Douglas hams it up and overacts most of the time in what is possibly one of the worst performances of his career. Sharon Stone is perfectly cast on the role that made her, or should I say, her muff famous, despite that she fits the character very well, she’s mostly droning around the scene just waiting to take her clothes off. There ARE though, some acting standouts like George Dzundza and Denis Arndt as Lt. Walker, whom get the best lines in the movie. Jeanne Tripplehorn is a tree, albeit a beautiful tree and I wonder if I’m the only one here that thinks that she’s hotter than Sharon Stone. Also in the movie is a very green Mitch Pileggi whom gets a couple of memorable moments. The rest of the cast are average.In the end, the only reason why to watch this film is for the sex, if nothing else. Sure, it’s the most worthy of all the “Erotic Thriller” trash out there, but just because it is doesn’t necessarily make it a quality film. This film would make for a guilty pleasure thanks to all the fame there is out there for it, but other than that, if you want titillation and some good sex, your best bet is to rent a porn film. If you’re a dullard or simply an escapist fan that can tolerate a certain amount of suspension of disbelief and nudity, this movie is for you, but if you’re a fan of intelligent thrillers regardless of nudity, forget it. It isn’t as clever as you think, and it may leave you dumber than what you already are. 2-5
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=832&reviewer=235
originally posted: 01/18/04 07:22:15