Saturday, October 29, 2011

Basic Instinct (1992)

Basic Instinct (1992)
"What did Manny Vasquez call you?"
"'Bitch' mostly, but he meant it affectionately."

"All we get is a thriller flogging a dead horse with the delusion of high grandeur, a horny sadistic teen playing out his fantasies."
Spoilers-ahoy: The biggest problem I face is the overall predictability. Basic Instinct's biggest mistake is revealing our bad girl (wink, wink) within the first few minutes. Granted you don't see her face, but we see everything else, and when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. It isn't long before we see her again naked as she is treated as a suspect where you can assure yourself she is the killer - my keen teenage eye pays high attention to the dynamic details of a nude female. Here I am, no more than thirty minutes in and I have the whole plot figured out. So you're probably asking, what's the twist? Well sorry to burst your bubble but there's nothing! That's right nothing! All we get is a thriller flogging a dead horse with the delusion of high grandeur, a horny sadistic teen playing out his fantasies. There's not a whole lot new added to the genre expect Stone's delightful inability to wear underwear. Ding, ding we have an answer for the hyperbole - explicit nudity for a mainstream audience trying to get their rocks off with the excuse of essential viewing; I'm not complaining though... 

The story follows Michael Douglas, a sobering cop whom grows attached to a murder in his latest homicide case - the illustrious Sharon Stone. Then we go on a bunch of try hard plot spooks to attempt to have us confused when we already know the answer - with all the cliché scenes you expect from the most basic of thrillers. 

Oddly, Verhoeven's direction works quite well. It's flawed and often lacks any ambitious style to a genre heavily open to experimentation - much like Showgirls, often fun to watch, yet a technical bore. Basic Instinct, although mediocre in almost all its fields has an unusually powerful entertainment value, perhaps if it were devoid of sexuality it would be a different story. Even the performances sit at a steady banality, except the two leads having the occasional spark, especially Stone. However, support roles are satisfactory at best. 

Only reason the film is so popular.

Overall, Basic Instinct rides the success of the bold nudity of Stone, which has perhaps created a landmark in cinematic sexuality, but nothing more. However, despite all its goofiness and predictability, Verhoeven's surprisingly entertaining direction and gracious nudity of Sharon Stone makes quite an enjoyable guilty pleasure. Basic Instincts is one of those films that despite all its problems can support multiple viewings - that's just not the teenage hormones talking either. Moreover, answers to any blows directed to the heavy sexual content, I think it's a great part of the film, unless your parents watch it with you.


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