Basic Instinct (1992)

Genre: Thriller

Cast: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, Jeanne Tripplehorn

Synopsis: A cop with a troubled past is on the hunt for the killer of a rock star. His investigation leads him to Sharon Stone who plays a brilliant and psychotic crime writer. It’s a battle of wits and cunning but who will win? Douglas’ disgraced cop or Sharon Stone’s vadge?

If there was ever a film to give meaning to the maxim ‘don’t stick your dick in crazy’ then this is it. Despite what people may think, this is not a film to get a party in your pants going. Sure, Stone looks amazing in the film but after too many graphic scenes you’ll begin to feel like some kind of sick rapist. Every sex scene in this film is violent and distasteful. But the violence and distaste is not without merit. This film is an incredibly detailed exploration of the battle of the sexes and class warfare. Sex, whether violent or otherwise, becomes a weapon. It’s very well-crafted and Paul Verhoeven’s intelligence really becomes apparent in this movie. I remember seeing him at a viewing of Starship Troopers at the Aero Theater in Brentwood and what struck me was how sharp and witty he is. Very articulate yet unassuming. In that sense, this movie is very ‘him.’

The whole movie is one big power struggle. It’s a fight between men and women and, from the way the movie pans out, it’s always women that have the upper hand. Basic Instinct received a lot of criticism when it first came out because of its portrayal of bisexual women as hyper-sexualized immoral fiends. I couldn’t disagree more. This is a movie that is surprisingly pro-women. Nearly every male character in this film is unlikeable and is portrayed as some sort of drooling idiot who can only maintain dominance through physical control. This is best seen in Douglas’ character who has to be physically aggressive towards women in order to establish his supremacy even going so far at one point to virtually rape his girlfriend/ex/fuck-buddy. Stone on the other hand, uses cunning and raw sexuality to trick and manipulate others. Just when Douglas thinks he’s the boss, Stone says or does something that immediately puts him in his place and establishes that it is in fact she who holds all the power. She wins every time. She’s a woman who is in control of her sexuality and gets what she wants…including sloppy cunnilingus from Douglas (eeeeww.) She’s a woman who can compete with men on their level and win. She’s a feminist icon!

Despite the exciting feminist twist, this movie is not quite perfect; the plot progression in this movie is rather predictable. The ending doesn’t come as a massive shock but it’s still enjoyable to watch. In fact the predictability was rather enjoyable because it made me feel that I was as smart as Stone’s character. The soundtrack is kind of nauseating in a weird way. It has almost a snake-charmer quality to it which I guess mirrors the manipulation going on in the movie. These flaws are rather minor though and they definitely don’t distract you from all the positives. This movie is sleek, smart, and enjoyable. It is these qualities that really make it stand out and worthy of your time.

High-lights:

  • The car chase on Telegraph Hill was really exciting and was a pleasure to watch.
  • The club scene is hilarious. It kind of takes place in some weird vortex that is the bastard love child of the 1980s and 1990s.
  • The leg crossing scene is classic but hysterical. I thought the way she opened her legs was really funny. Kind of like a rusty gate opening.

Downers:

  • There are some really gross scenes to deflate your boner/ladyboner. The juxtaposition of sex and violence can get a little too much. In fact, if you get too paranoid at times, this movie might give you a PTSD outlook on sex. I’ll never look at ice picks the same way again.
  • The plot and its development isn’t as mind-blowing as I thought it would be.

Summary:

Despite both being erotic thrillers, Basic Instinct differs from Cat People in a lot of ways. Whereas Cat People is designed to be really arousing, Basic Instinct is much more complex, mixing eroticism with gruesome murder and a power struggle that is almost Shakespearean in nature. Ultimately, it makes for much more of an interesting film. Basic Instinct is a really great film to sink your teeth into and the detail in its execution makes it really fun. A must watch for those who like to engage their mind whilst baked.

8.5/10

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3 Comments

Filed under Great, Thriller

3 responses to “Basic Instinct (1992)

  1. Pingback: Liz & Dick (2012) | bakedmoviereviews

  2. Pingback: Wild Things (1998) | bakedmoviereviews

  3. Pingback: Romancing the Stone (1984) | bakedmoviereviews

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