A look behind the scenes at one of the more controversial thillers of the 90's, and the one that made Sharon Stone a top-name star. Includes interviews with Stone and footage of some of the...
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A look behind the scenes at one of the more controversial thillers of the 90's, and the one that made Sharon Stone a top-name star. Includes interviews with Stone and footage of some of the hard work that went into making the movie, as well as some discussion of the problems the makers had to deal with, including protests from groups who wanted the film changed or simply abandoned. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of the many problems with America is that rather than work together for a common good, all the groups that make it up would rather fight with one another. This is a theme that pervades the documentary, and it is surprising to find that it is really secondary in terms of America's reaction to the film compared to the general American public's fear of reality.
Like any other Paul Verhoeven film, nothing that happens in real life was shied away from in Basic Instinct. How much of this relates back to Verhoeven himself, and how much of it is Joe Ezsterhas' doing, is still open for debate. However, one aspect of the film that shines through in spite of all the idiocy is how brilliantly it was put together.
One of the many stand-out features of the actual film is that one would never guess it is only the second film Verhoeven shot in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is understandable considering how dynamic some of the shots are. This, however, is one of the many subjects one would expect from a making-of that is never touched on in spite of the fact that the documentary features appearances from cinematographer Jan De Bont.
By far the standout feature of the documentary is the activists from Queer Nation, who still have no idea how their protests of the film have backfired upon them some ten years after the fact. One of them even has the audacity to claim that their protests brought Hollywood to "change its tune" and bring out shows like Ellen. She seems blissfully unaware that Hollywood never changes its tune. Its tune is always "oh wow, here's another market I can exploit!". Nor does she realise how much harm they have done to the average cinephile's view of how much respect the gay community really has for the First Amendment when it isn't applying to them.
However, this creates another quandry when it comes to assessing one of Verhoeven's most famous works. Should the film be viewed as a classic because it is a tight story shot beautifully? Or should it be viewed simply as a classic bait to expose organisations like Queer Nation for what they are? One could lose sweep over questions like that.
It is worth noting the conspicuous absence of both Sharon Stone and Joe Eszterhas, two people Verhoeven had major conflicts with after the film was released. Indeed, contrary to the perception some viewers might walk away with after this documentary, Verhoeven has sworn he'll never work with Joe again. After some of the other scripts to Joe's credit, such as Jade (which, you will note, organisations like Queer Nation or N.O.W. did not protest), I am surprised anyone else is surprised.
In the end however, the purpose of a documentary is to inform and entertain at the same time. While Blonde Poison is certainly entertaining, to call it informative about anything other than how special interest groups are nullifying democracy in America would be extremely generous. Sure, there are tidbits such as choices regarding the score or how the project got started, but there should have been so much more.
All in all, a 5 out of ten from me. It is worth watching once, but the audio commentaries on the DVDs give the viewer so much more.
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