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Basic Instinct

A movie directed by Paul Verhoeven

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A Minority Opinion

  • Nov 5, 2006
In case you've missed the plot summary, it goes like
this: Sharon Stone plays a cold-blooded, near-sociopathic
novelist whose boyfriend has just been murdered. The
crime, which involves some barely believable bondage
is a replica of one she described in her last novel.
Michael Douglas is the detective on the case and Jeanne
Tripplehorn is the police psychologist who is Douglas'
ex-girlfriend and is-in violation of any ethical
standard imagineable-giving him counselling after
a questionable shooting that left innocent bystanders
So the question is 'whodunnit?'.
And the answer is 'who cares?'.

The plot is unbelievable-real cops would have solved
this murder in a day or two. The acting ranges from
giggle-worthy (Douglas) to creditable (Stone and
Tripplehorn). The complications are shrill and forced
and the attempts to complicate the whodunit are
so sad that they're almost not worth a parody.

So why two stars? It's a beautiful movie and worth
seeing once (although you may want to fast-forward
through a lot of it) Stone's rendition of the
cheerful sociopath is good. Her nude scenes are delicious
and best of all, she is the second most beautiful
creature in the film.
Top awards for elegant nudity go to Tripplehorn who
is absolutely breath-taking even with her clothes on.
Those of you whose aesthetic is different from mine
may want to say the same of Douglas.
But even a naked Jeanne Tripplehorn is not
enough to make a good movie. Director Paul Verhoeven,
who did Spetters and RoboCop does a credible job
on this badly written, ill-conceived flick.
I understand that the film was under consideration
for a Raspberry Award and that only makes me
wonder how bad the film was that beat it.

Lynn Hoffman, author of The New Short Course in Wine and the forthcoming novel, bang-BANG from Kunati Press.

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Lynn Hoffman ()
Ranked #868
I cook therefore I. .therefore I eat. No, maybe that's thereby I eat'.   Anyway, I love food, beer and wine: I like to write about them too,(The New Short Course in Wine is adapted from … more
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About this movie


The take-no-prisoners sex thriller from 1992 now stands as a milestone in the career of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, but in the hands of director Paul VerhoevenBasic Instinctis an undeniably stylish and provocative study of obsession. In the role that made her a star (and showed the audience a little more skin than she intended), Sharon Stone plays the cleverly manipulative novelist Catherine Tramell who snares San Francisco detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) with her insatiable sexual appetite during the investigation of her boyfriend's murder. Tramell is the prime suspect, but the plot twists and turns until Curran is trapped in a dangerous cycle of dead ends and unsolved murders, never sure if Tramell is committing the crimes or if it is some other, unknown suspect. With a plot that keeps viewers guessing,Basic Instinctis the work of a director who is clearly in his element.--Jeff Shannon
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