Basic Instinct

February 8, 2018 by admin_name

Basic Instinct
released 1992

“Basic Instinct” is a neo-noir, Hitchcockian styled, detective, thriller, American and UK film directed by Paul Verhoeven and produced by Alan Marshall. It stars Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Denis Arndt, Leilani Sarelle, Bruce A. Young, Chelcie Ross, Dorothy Malone, Wayne Knight, Daniel von Bargen, Stephen Tobolowsky, Benjamin Mouton, Jack McGee, James Rebhorn, Freda Foh Shen, David Wells, William Duff-Griffin, Bill Cable, Stepehen Rowe and Mitch Pileggi among others. It was nominated for 16 Awards including the Palm d´Or and Golden Globes and won 4 Awards. This is definitely a good watch.

“Basic Instinct” is the story of detective Nick Curran, played by Michael Douglas, who investigates the murder of a rich and famous and highly connected rock star named Johnny Boz. The murder is gruesome and has detectives stumped because they cannot find a motive. No spoilers for saying that Johnny Boz is killed with an ice pick while having sex, doing drugs and tied up. The girlfriend of Johnny Boz, Catherine Tramell, played by Sharon Stone, is the main suspect but like I said earlier they cannot find a motive at first. It´s a veritable cat and mouse game between the police, paricularly Nick,  and Tramell and you get a pretty good idea who the cat is. The story has a Hitchcock feel to it and like Hitchcock´s “Vertigo” the main character is seriously flawed but unlike the character of John `Scottie´Ferguson he is often his own worst enemy and Catherine plays on all his character flaws.

I loved this film for the Hitchcockian feel of it even though it was done in the 90s. So that means very primitive computers, if any, no cell phones and no internet and lots more paper. Whether it´s police files or books it´s at the very end of the paper society. There are many parallels between “Basic Instinct” and “Vertigo”. Nick is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic who accidently killed someone on the job and so has to see a psychiatrist. This is an interesting change from Hitchcock´s “Vertigo” where Scottie was suffering from vertigo and maybe a little PTSD too. Nick is also very volatile and devious while Scottie is very likeable and level headed.

You have many stories about how devious and dangerous serial killers are and this one breaks the mold by imitation. That is imitation with a few changes and that is why this is such a good film. What do I mean by that? Well the suspect is guilty and in plain sight almost waving a flag. Now granted she´s rich and beautiful and the police department in the story is mostly male and very sexist but still, come on people. This movie shows us a picture of a gruesome crime and messes with our perceptions so we don´t see straight. It really is a film I had to see twice and talk about with my sister to see what was in front of me the whole time, and that is what´s brilliant about it. I don´t know if you can call it a form of `cinematic gaslighting´or a `literary slight of hand´ on the part of the script. I love movies that are like magic tricks where you have to figure them out, like unpeeling the layers of an onion or putting the pieces to a puzzle together and this film is it. It always astounds me how easily people´s perceptions are manipulated and changed, mine included.

So check out this old gem of a film and send me an email if you had to see it twice, like me.

Written by John Appius Quill


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