DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: BASIC INSTINCT

Thursday, 17 July 2008

BASIC INSTINCT


Basic Instinct (1992) dir. Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzunza, Jeanne Tripplehorn

***1/2

In 1992, Paul Verhoeven shifted gears away from his previous two action films, “Robocop” and “Total Recall” to shoot a beguiling investigative slasher picture which was already famous for being the most expensive scripts ever sold in Hollywood. "Basic Instinct" is now a naughty and notorious classic. It’s b-movie material but with an ultra-slick gloss provided by the moody/serious Hitchcockian tone and Jan De Bont’s luscious cinematography. Now, arguably “Basic Instinct” is the quintessential erotic thriller.

Fans of Verhoeven’s work in Holland will instantly recognize thematic and genre similarities with his early Dutch film “The Fourth Man” (1983). Like “Basic Instinct”, the protagonist is a man who is seduced by a multiple-widowed sex-pot angling for another victim. Some of the action and violence is identically staged, specifically one sex scene where instead of an icepick Sharon Stone’s equivalent does her nasty work with a pair of scissors.

“The Fourth Man” is great practice for creating the erotic thriller to beat them all. Michael Douglas plays Nick Curran, a cop currently under investigation by internal affairs. He’s assigned to the case of a dead rock star who has been stabbed to death with an icepick. The chief suspect is Catherine Trammell (Sharon Stone) a paperback novelist with a degree in psychology, or as the police captain says, "a degree in fucking with people's heads". Catherine does just that, and seduces Nick with gradually increasing sexual teasing. As Nick gets closer to Catherine, the more he’s convinced she didn’t do it. Before long Nick is caught in a deadly web of death with him as the next intended victim.

Jan De Bont has a lot to do with the success of the film. He was one of Verhoeven's two favoured DOPs from his native land. His two action films were both lensed by Jost Vacano, who had a style completely wrong for this different kind of film. The erotic noir genre calls for a different skill set and Jan de Bont’s classic big screen Hollywood style was the right kind of gloss needed. Unfortunately it would de Bont’s second last feature as DOP. Of course, he would go on to direct some major blockbusters ("Twister" and "Speed"), but it’s a shame, because we’ve also missed on some great collaborations.

The late Jerry Goldsmith, one of the great music composers in Hollywood - ever - provides a wonderful swooning music score. He injects just the right amount of Bernard Herrman to compliment the Hitchcockian feel, without resorting to complete theft.

From the San Francisco locale, to the psychoanalytical themes, to the camera work, "Basic Instinct" is one of the best Hitchcock-influenced films, and perhaps a film Brian DePalma should have made - it even features an elevator-death climax. The DVD features a great commentary by Paul Verhoeven and Jan de Bont revealing all the Hitchcockisms they injected in the film. Rediscover this naughty 90's classic. Enjoy.

8 comments :

Michael J. Mendez said...

Isn't Basic Instinct one of those movies where even if you haven't seen it before, you've already seen it? I don't know if I've ever watched it all the way through, but I've seen it.

And was much more intrigued with Jeanne Tripplehorn than Sharon Stone.

Alan Bacchus said...

I agree. it's a 'public consciousness' film.

BTW: You're scaring me that photo of yours. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

A "deadly web of death," eh? Don't you think we can dead-y that phrase a bit? How about a deadly, deathly death web of deathly death?

Alan Bacchus said...

Come on Anon, cut me some slack, I don't have an editor. But yes, you're right, that's kind of a lame sentence.

Anonymous said...

It was just a friendly barb, some casual tweaking. I liked the review. All in good fun.

Shubhajit said...

You really deserve kudos for reviewing Basic Instinct. Most serious film goers tend to stay clear of this one.

As for me, I can unabashedly state that I loved the movie. The movie is stylish as hell and script is terrific. Sharon Stone is unforgettable. Acting wise, though, the movie belongs to Douglas. Even though made within the Hollywood system, Verhoeven made this movie completely his own.

Bob Turnbull said...

The one thing for which I give "Basic Instinct" credit is how it made me think more about why I like or dislike films - because I tried to figure out why I hated the damn thing so much.

One reason I would mention to people when it came up was that I found there wasn't a single redeeming characteristic in ANY character in the film. I couldn't stand any of these people and pretty much hoped for some kind of apocalypse at the end of the film to wipe them all out. But as I thought about that comment, I realized it wasn't really a good objective stance on the film. Why couldn't you make a movie with totally self-involved scum-sucking people? As a matter of fact, I'm sure I've seen a bunch since then and enjoyed them (the Pusher trilogy springs to mind as do several Japanese crime/exploitation films of the 60s/70s).

So it would be interesting for me to revisit the film now that I have a wider viewing history under my belt. But I'm in no rush...I REALLY could stand the damn thing.

sexy said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,A片,A片,情色,A片,A片,情色,A片,A片,情趣用品,A片,情趣用品,A片,情趣用品,a片,情趣用品

A片,A片,AV女優,色情,成人,做愛,情色,AIO,視訊聊天室,SEX,聊天室,自拍,AV,情色,成人,情色,aio,sex,成人,情色

免費A片,美女視訊,情色交友,免費AV,色情網站,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,情色網,日本A片,免費A片下載,性愛

情色文學,色情A片,A片下載,色情遊戲,色情影片,色情聊天室,情色電影,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,一葉情貼圖片區,情色視訊,免費成人影片,視訊交友,視訊聊天,言情小說,愛情小說,AV片,A漫,AVDVD,情色論壇,視訊美女,AV成人網,成人交友,成人電影,成人貼圖,成人小說,成人文章,成人圖片區,成人遊戲,愛情公寓,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,成人論壇


情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,臺灣情色網,色情,情色電影,色情遊戲,嘟嘟情人色網,麗的色遊戲,情色論壇,色情網站,一葉情貼圖片區,做愛,性愛,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊交友網,免費視訊聊天,美女交友,做愛影片

A片,A片,A片下載,做愛,成人電影,.18成人,日本A片,情色小說,情色電影,成人影城,自拍,情色論壇,成人論壇,情色貼圖,情色,免費A片,成人,成人網站,成人圖片,AV女優,成人光碟,色情,色情影片,免費A片下載,SEX,AV,色情網站,本土自拍,性愛,成人影片,情色文學,成人文章,成人圖片區,成人貼圖