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An erotic writer toys with a San Francisco detective who thinks she's the ice-pick killer he's after. Directed by Paul Verhoeven.
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 Verhoeven Basic Instinct is 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 Instinct is the work of a director who is clearly in his element. --Jeff Shannon
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But underneath that calm and calculating mind is a suspected pathological killer and writer, plus bisexual to boot!
I enjoyed the scenes of what was suggestive of San Francisco, but have a hard time figuring how Michael Douglas' character as Nick always seems to find a convenient parking spot in front of his building! If you've ever been to the foggy city, you know that's a rare. Adding to the confusion is the scene at the dance club, which is a replica of New York's Limelight Club set in a church...what the heck is that doing is SF?
I did find the sets of Trammel's homes to be quite accurate. The Divisadero mansion is something you'd expect to find in that area. The seaside home though was actually filmed on location in Carmel, even though it was suppose to suggest Marin. Aside from that, if you didn't realize that fact, you would have never thought otherwise (except some areas of Marin are not close to water).
The ending fades that happened several times was annoying, but it did keep you guessing...was she really the murderess or not?
The Ultimate Edition that is unrated shows a tad more nudity, particularly in Michael Douglas' case, but overall adds nothing too significant to the storyline.
Wouldn't it be better to see more of Stone and the infamous interview process? That in itself is the gem of the movie.