Basic Instinct - Lilith Likes to Watch Famous February

Title: Basic Instinct
Starring: Sharon Stone, Michael Dougless, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Synopsis: A police detective plays a seductive game of cat and mouse with a manipulative novelist who is the prime suspect in her rock star boyfriend's murder. - Via Amazon Prime
Lilith's Notes: Let us not forget our Michael Douglas Festooned 90s erotica past, lest we are doomed to repeat it.

"You like watching, don't you?"
Sometimes when I write these reviews, and everytime I make a social media post about them, I consult with the little devil on my shoulder. I like to be just a little bit of a smart-ass, because it’s my goal to entertain you with these reviews. If I can’t be insightful, I can at least be amusing, right?

It’s with this in mind that I am compelled to make the following observation:

Paul Verhoeven must have some interesting sex with his wife.

I say that because he seems to really be a fan of that back-bending pose from Showgirls. We see it again, multiple times in Basic Instinct. I observe also, because I quite enjoyed the sex in Benedetta, but that was sapphic and sacrilegious. Is this back-breaking posturing all still part of his shtick or has he finally gotten it all out of his system by the turn of the century?

Basic Instinct has to be his trademark satire that’s so blatant it loops right back around to being subtle, right? That’s the only reason Michael Douglas was cast as the smouldering irresistible sexyman Detective Nick Curran. It has to be. Fatal Attraction was just a fluke, and Disclosure was just art imitating life. I have to believe that because James Spader is right there! Did Douglas’ role as Gordon Gecko in Wallstreet really endear so many to his sex appeal? I don’t get it.

Before this moment, I had seen parts of Basic Instinct, but, then, we’ve all seen parts of this movie, haven’t we? Douglas is only one half of the powerhouse co-leads in this film. The other is, of course, Sharon Stone as sexy murder mystery author Cathrine Tramell, around whom people end up dead. Really, there’s three co-leads. Douglas, Stone, and Stone’s vagina.

That scandalous moment aside, I remember this film being rather boring. It’s possible neo-noir is just not my genre. There’s something snappy and quick about the dialogue that feels off to my ear. No one sounds clever, they sound rehearsed and wooden. It’s like if Two Broke Girls were in Chinatown.

In the beginning of the film, Stone was terrible for this. She comes across as incredibly stilted, saying words just because that’s what came next in the script.

Then begins the infamous interrogation scene and Stone comes alive. She, or at least Catherine, is clearly having fun and it’s the performance of the film, snatch-flash or not. Stone keeps up this energy throughout most of the film, and it’s something to cling to in a presentation that’s the equivalent of Hot Girls Who Kiss Because They Like Attention.

Was I intrigued by the mystery? No.

Did I care about Nick and his embarrassing love affair with his therapist? No. Especially once we learn he’s a two-pump chump and the moment he gets slightly over-stressed he becomes a no-means-yes kind of guy.

There’s a car chase, because I suppose there needs to be a car chase in a murder mystery movie? It is used as a means to an ends for tying up one plot thread.

I will give the movie credit for this though, when Catharine allows a moment of vulnerability during the final seconds of the film, it’s kind of touching and sweet. Maybe a little corny, and overly-intense with the kind of overwhelming emotion it’s all trying to communicate but I’m sometimes a cornball and it worked for me.

Good for her.

Of course, there has to be one final twist. Or does there?

Basic Instinct, you call it? Well, Basic is one word for it.

Actually, fuck whatever I just said because the reviews for this movie that are found on Letterboxd are straight up fire. Go fall down that rabbit hole. It’s a good time.

Best Moment: Guess. C’mon, this movie is iconic for one reason alone. The leg cross scene. It made 90s erotic thrillers so much more horny.

Worst Moment: It’s not unprecedented for this site, but it is incredibly rare for the best to also be the worst. The leg cross scene is blink and you miss it, and you barely see anything anyway. Stone also apparently alleges that she was lied to and nothing but shadows showed up on film, which is obviously untrue.

LILITH'S SCORE: 2.5/5 - It's a classic, but only because of a few seconds forever captured on film. Overhyped and vanilla by today's standards.

Until next time, my voracious voyeurs. I’m Lilith, and I’m always watching.

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