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Basic Instinct

by

Jeff Nelson

Basic Instinct clearly has quite a few flaws, but has components that are worthwhile.

Basic Instinct
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Ever since Basic Instinct was released, there has been controversy surrounding it. The filmmakers made a risky choice but not sugar-coating anything. Hollywood often does this in order to draw more audiences into the theaters with a PG-13 rating. This movie uses a more straight forward approach that will leave some glad and others offended. However, Basic Instinct relies on a whodunit type plot.

A troubled cop and a seductive novelist entwine in an alluring game of whodunit. Facing internal inquiry, Detective Tom Curran doggedly pursues a case involving Catherine Trammell, a writer and temptress who becomes suspected in a murder reminiscent of a crime detailed in her book. As the body count rises, so does Curran's obsession with Tramell. The screenplay leaves the audience with one single question asking who is really the killer? Even though this type of story line can make a very interesting film, it requires the right execution. The biggest issue I found with Basic Instinct is that I figured out the ending extremely early on. Once it's figured out, a lot of the fun is taken out of the movie and becomes formulaic. However, the script handles the dialogue fittingly. The biggest element that sets Basic Instinct apart from other movies in the sub-genre is its blunt approach. The filmmakers use the sexual interactions to develop a few of the characters and tell more about all of the personalities. These scenes may make some viewers feel uncomfortable, but these sequences are utilized well and are necessary to the plot.

The leads of Basic Instinct are both names moviegoers should recognize. Michael Douglas plays Detective Nick Curran and doesn't show his true talent. In fact, quite a bit of his delivery is quite disappointing. He could have been much worse, but this surely isn't one of his better representations of a character. Douglas has even been nominated for a Razzie. On the other hand, Sharon Stone performs as Catherine Tramell. She bests Douglas in every way on screen. She's seductive, yet extremely cold and articulate. She delivers all of her dialogue well. Stone is clearly the strongest asset Basic Instinct has in the acting department.

I had a little bit of a difficult time deciding upon a rating for Basic Instinct. It kept me interesting from start to finish, but there are a bunch of inconsistencies that are hard to ignore. Not to mention that Michael Douglas is surprisingly disappointing in this role. However, I appreciate the filmmaker's choices to show everything as it is. I'm still not pleased with how quickly I predicted the ending. Basic Instinct clearly has quite a few flaws, but has components that are worthwhile. The film remains recommended, but don't expect a cinematic masterpiece.

My Rating = Three Stars

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