Basic Instinct had a heck of a reputation surrounding it, and I'm surprised - but happy to report - that it was actually deserving of it. I was expecting a dated, badly-scripted movie that people only enjoyed because Sharon Stone shed her clothes a few (million) times. But what this movie really is, is a smart, taught thriller that keeps you guessing the whole way through just if Sharon Stone's character is innocent or not.
Delivering twists in the tale constantly and unabandonedly, Basic Instinct is an excellent exercise in character exploration, and it makes one hell of a murder mystery. From the intense opening sequence (which displays Paul Verhoeven's skill as a director as he cleverly manages to hide a naked woman's face as she stabs a man to death) which manages to be both sexy and horrific at the same time, right down to the final scene of the movie, the audience is constantly in the dark as to who the killer actually is - which is a small masterpiece of an achievement in itself. And there is a genuinely shocking - but logical - denouement.
In the wrong hands, Basic Instinct could have been churned out as a silly, over-the-top soft-core porn movie. But there are certain elements in it that keep it from digressing to this, and let it dazzle as well as disgust. For one, all the nudity in the movie actually helps to develop the plotline. Oh yes, no gratuitous nudity here, I'm afraid. Each sex scene (and, granted, there are quite a few steamy encounters!) is handled poetically and with enough grace and clear-thinking to actually steer the plot in new directions, rather than hold it back.
Another thing that keeps this movie afloat is Sharon Stone, who simply shines as the seductive Catherine Trammel. Her clever performance not only keeps you guessing what her character will do next, but also allows the viewer to feel a certain amount of sympathy towards someone who is obviously as confused about herself as she is about the people around her. Throw in a couple of memorable one-liners on her part (as well as the ever-famous 'leg crossing' scene) and she is undoubtedly one of the greatest (living) actresses to grace our screens.
A thriller that really messes with your head, Basic Instinct is a taught, clever movie that will keep you guessing until the very end. Sharon Stone is absolutely flawless in every sense of the word, and Michael Douglas is equally is good as Nick Curran. Check this one out - it's the best of the rest.