A young man is plunged into a life of subterfuge, deceit and mistaken identity in pursuit of a femme fatale whose heart is never quite within his grasp. Remake of François Truffaut's 1969 film 'Mississippi Mermaid'
A former rock star, Johnny Boz, is brutally killed during sex, and the case is assigned to detective Nick Curran of the SFPD. During the investigation, Nick meets Catherine Tramell, a crime novelist who was Boz's girlfriend when he died. Catherine proves to be a very clever and manipulative woman, and though Nick is more or less convinced that she murdered Boz, he is unable to find any evidence. Later, when Nilsen, Nick's rival in the police, is killed, Nick suspects of Catherine's involvement in it. He then starts to play a dangerous lust-filled mind game with Catherine to nail her, but as their relationship progresses, the body count rises and contradicting evidences force Nick to start questioning his own suspicions about Catherine's guilt. Written by
Michael Douglas felt an established star was needed to play Catherine, so the movie would be carried by two well-known actors, and the risk of career damage would also be shared. He suggested Julia Roberts for the part, but no actress of name was prepared to go completely nude for the role. Douglas was initially against Sharon Stone being cast as she was largely unknown, despite her supporting role in Total Recall (1990), but Paul Verhoeven desperately wanted her, since he had been very impressed by her screen test. See more »
Beth Garner's first name is spelled "Elisabeth" on the entrance door to her office. However, when Nick looks up her driving license records, the name is spelled "Elizabeth". See more »
This is one of my favorite films, even though it has some problems.
The film caused controversy with some of the gay crowd (who didn't like the negative press) and for the graphic sex (with bedroom violence). It became a box office winner, that made Sharon Stone a star, and yet was basically p****d on by the critics! The word is the film is better than your average B movie skin flick, only by the quality of the actors, and Verhoeven's ability. I feel the film is still not given the respect it's due.
I first saw the R-rated version, which is very good, but now you can get the even better Unrated Director's Cut, which has even more graphic content! If you don't like erotic-thrillers, then don't see it. But anyone with taste will enjoy the thrill ride of events that take place in Basic Instinct. The script by Joe Eszterhas was highly thought of in Hollywood, and if not for the graphic nudity, a top star like Michelle Pfeiffer would have taken the role made famous by Sharon stone.
Does the script go too far at times? Yes, but that's part of the films charm, and after all, the now 'classic film moment' of Sharon Stone's leg spread interrogation, likely would have been dropped in a conventional film. Still though, I wouldn't have minded seeing a few less people getting killed off, to keep even more suspense and realism.
The score is also beautiful, and fans of Hitchcock's great "Vertigo" can appreciate the homage that Paul Verhoeven has included. The film has a lot of eye candy, but Jeanne Tripplehorn deserves special mention for her impressive supporting role (sadly she hasn't done much of note since). Michael Douglas does a solid job also, but I can't help wondering if a better actor like Clint Eastwood could have brought more to the table. The dialogue is not up to the level of "Pulp Fiction", but it's still interesting and fun.
I highly recommend this film for fans of adult mystery.
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