First of all, my rating is basically 5 stars for the movie and 2 for the Blu-ray presentation.
The main reason? The picture. I just don't believe this has been remastered at 1080p. I have original projection reels of this movie in my collection and they still look cleaner and sharper, which they shouldn't. Basic Instinct has incredibly good cinematography, but the Blu-ray image is SOFT. Meaning there must be anti-aliasing happening because the image is not sufficiently detailed to fulfil 1080p. It was really something of a disappointment. Yes, it looks okay, but not for a second is this the best is could look. What's more, it's from Optimum, who usually really are quite good with their material.
The audio is fine, and Goldsmith's beautiful score is not damaged by the poor treatment other aspects of the movie have suffered.
There are no extras. Not even the feature-length Making Of has been included. There is a picture option which allows you to follow their instructions on getting the best picture they believe possible out of this disc. Well, ignore it. You know yourself what looks sharpest and most vibrant, and for me it was NOTHING like what they were suggesting.
I find this release to be a big disappointment, given how popular the film was and, despite it's often sleazy reputation, it really is a finely crafted thriller with lush, warm cinematography, Goldsmith's last great score, great editing and Verhoeven's slick direction. It's too bad the Blu-ray doesn't give it the respect it deserves.
on 4 July 2004
Almost everyone has heard of Basic Instinct. However, its tag of 'erotic thriller' has put many people off watching it. To these people, I would say, get over it, and have a good look at this film, because it is superb. Yes, the sex scenes are very graphic, but the story is so captivating that you'll be able to get past them and anjoy this for what it is... a good suspense thriller.
Sharon Stone stars as Catherine Tramell, a novelist, whose boyfriend is stabbed to death with an ice-pick. This killing was exactly the same as one described in Catherine's latest book. You are then left wondering. Did Catherine recreate the events of her book and kill her lover, or did someone else, someone who wanted to ruin Catherine, carry out the deed in question?
Michael Douglas is the cop invstigating the murder, however, it is only too soon before he is seduced by Catherine. It's suspense all the way until the end, where, even then, you aren't sure, who really is the murderer.
If thrillers are your thing, then go and watch this DVD. A word of warning though. This is not one for kids and teenagers...
With all the controversy over this film long past it is now possible to appraise it‘s great strengths, brilliant screenplay, great dedicated performances, direction and photography absolutely spot on.
Sharon Stone literally becomes Catherine Trammel the bi-sexual, brilliantly manipulative and devious woman who uses her sexuality to dominate men. Michael Douglas as Detective Nick Curran is a perfect foil, attempting to limit her dominance and making desperate efforts to remain impartial in solving the grisly murders.
Trammel’s lesbian lover Roxy (Leilani Sarelle) is perfectly cast, the commentary incorrectly states this is her only film, if fact she has a long filmography.
But especial mention must go to George Dzunda as Gus Moran playing one of the great buddy roles as Curran’s assistance, the scene where he is drunk at a western music bar is the best portrayal of a drunken man I have ever seen.
Finally there is Jeanne Tripplehorn as Dr Beth Garner the police psychiatrist and ex lover of Curran, hers is a difficult role in the middle of the action and is completely convincing. The sex scene with Douglas in which she only partially complies is a gripping example of the narrow line between rape within a relationship and consent.
The long sex scenes between Stone and Douglas seem over choreographed by today’s standards, with a tendency to providing artistic nude studies rather than erotic action.
If you can take this tough gritty subject matter the beautifully transferred DVD with it’s generous extras is for you. At the end nothing is completely certain except “Basic Instinct 2” is due for release in March 2006, and one wonders how Sharon Stone will reprise this role at the age of forty six.
on 16 July 2002
Whilst it seems to be the current trend for critics to constantly say how silly they now feel, 10 years on, for getting so worked up over THAT scene, Basic Instinct has in fact lost none of its magic. It is a timeless classic, yet highly underrated.
Yes, it was the leg crossing scene that made this film infamous, but it is such a sexy, tension filled thriller for the whole duration. There is something about the film that cannot be put into words, that no matter how many times you watch it, you feel the same amount of emotion that you did the first time.
Basic Instinct has unfortunately been lumbered with the 'erotic thriller' tag which has become a Friday night standard on Channel Five. However, the film is much, much more than titillation. There's a fantastic murder mystery plotline which would not be out of place in any of the Hitchcock classics which clearly influenced it, and all the actors are great (and I'm no Michael Douglas fan, so trust me :))
The DVD is a gorgeous package. A double disc set with postcards thrown in. Every making-of fact you would want to know is on this disc - and more!
Look past the infamous scene and see this film for what it really is - a true modern classic.
on 31 March 2006
This is a brilliant and breathtaking film. The film is infamous for it's graphic erotic scenes, but if you can manage to get through the film without being (ahem) distracted by Sharon Stone, then you will find that the characters are highly developed and fascinating, the plot is complex and intelligent and the delivery is fast, entertaining and absorbing from start to finish.
It's a pity that this film is famous for the wrong reasons. Dare to admit that Basic Instinct is one of you're favourite films and your liable to be sniggered at. This film should not be dismissed as pure eroticism. Admittedly some scenes are graphic but the eroticism is not gratuitous. Overall, i found it to be an intelligent thriller with two superb leads and a great supporting cast. The film is sensational.
on 6 September 2015
One of Veroheven most underrated films, Basic Instinct was considered trash when it comes out but, after many years, and despite some frankly rude moments, is a very good thriller, with a certainly bold and cheeky explicit approach to sex, but also a morbid atmosphere and a certain elegance and charm. Not his best film but an intriguing film with some great scenes and a very good blu ray transfer
on 11 November 2012
These days Basic Instinct is a guilty pleasure film. It's a well-crafted suspense thriller for a while, with a few cop movie cliches thrown in, but then becomes trash. The plot's solution isn't satisfying because it's arbitrary - writer Joe Eszterhas doesn't know or care whodunnit, so every clue supports one of two theories and there's no proper denouement - which just leaves a lot of sex, violence and mind games, intriguing all. Basic Instinct is very enjoyable if you don't allow yourself to be fooled by its pretense. It has the look and feel of a hardboiled mystery, but a writer in that genre would have given us an ending. Eszterhas doesn't, but he does give us a trashy good time.
After a lurid and gruesome prologue in which a rock star is murdered with an ice pick, troubled LA cop Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) meets Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), an obscenely rich crime novelist who was the dead man's lover. She's cold and manipulative, openly using people for her work, but Nick is enthralled. She could be a killer, but she's also intelligent and beautiful, teasing Nick with her sexuality. His ex-girlfriend and psychologist Beth Garner (Jeanette Goldstein), meanwhile, has bad feelings about Tramell.
Basic Instinct isn't a great or classic film. It's not bad or poorly made, it just doesn't end up anywhere. Clues unravel to no ultimate effect and the last shot, which should explain everything, doesn't really. The other suspect could have left that item there. It's like a Raymond Chandler novel with no last chapter. I think I've also discovered a big plot hole: why doesn't Douglas recognise an apartment building his partner brings him to, and why doesn't the partner just say who he's meeting there? But if you can accept all that and just wallow in the film it really does work. The direction and dialogue's good, and the sex scenes are, ahem, invigorating. The film's been accused of homophobia in how it paints lesbians and bisexuals, but that felt more exploitive than hateful. Again, if you accept Basic Instinct as trash then it's a lot more enjoyable.
"I'd have to be pretty stupid to write a book about killing and then kill him the way I described in my book. I'd be announcing myself as the killer. I'm not stupid."
Basic Instinct is directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhaz. It stars Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Denis Arndt and Leilani Sarelle. Music is scored by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by Jan de Bont.
Nick Curran (Douglas) of the SFPD is strung out and under investigation by Internal Affairs, last thing he needs is to be drawn into a dangerous relationship with a sex crazed blonde who may be a murderess...
Time hasn't been kind to Verhoeven's soft-core porn thriller, where once was shock and awe killings (the film opening with a brutal mini ice-pick murder), steamy love scenes and a famed and controversial crotch shot, now is ludicrous orgasms, iffy effects and Michael Douglas' unappetising ass! Hell there was even protests during the film's initial theatre run as the gay community went up in arms about the portrayal of bisexuals possibly being mad murderers?
Yet for all of its taming over the years, Basic Instinct can at least now been seen as the hugely efficient mystery thriller that it is, one that is propelled by some very good performances by the principal actors. The strength in the story is not in the sex or blood, but in the character arcs of Nick Curran and Catherine Tramell (Stone). Curran is a man perched on the edge of doom who is controlled totally by the women around him. He is by definition a quintessential film noir protagonist, in so deep he ultimately will be resigned to his fate. Catharine Tramell is a ultimate femme fatale, beautiful and seductive, she's always in control, leading all male characters where she wants them to go. There's a delicious kink to the narrative, with Verhoeven gleefully pulling the strings, a smirk no doubt etched onto his face.
This is very good story telling, with a plot of substantial twists and turns. True, it does carry some soft-core baggage that can steer the restless away from the character strengths within, but for the neo-noir crowd there is much to enjoy here. 7.5/10
on 24 July 2014
This is the kind of film Hitchcock would love to have made with Grace Kelly. He approached it with Tippi Hedren in 'Marnie' where Sean Connery rapes her on their honeymoon, and he hints at it in 'Vertigo' when James Stewart kisses Kim Novak in the second coming of Madeleine. The closest he got with Grace Kelly is the attempted murder scene in 'Dial M For Murder' where Anthony Newland has her over the telephone table. It is a metaphor of a rape scene because he is on top of her on the table. In 'Basic Instinct' we get to dance with Sharon Stone, grope her, and have sex with her. This is what Hitchcock would have loved to have done with Grace Kelly, and it's no coincidence that Stone is a blonde dressed in classical costumes with classical beauty like Grace Kelly. The film is also set in San Francisco with overtones of 'Vertigo'. Catherine Trammell has echoes of Kim Novak who of course is a substitute for Grace Kelly.
Apart from the Hitchcock references, this is a landmark for Sharon Stone. You totally believe her in the role, and even in her screen tests she was there emotionally in the character. (The same can be said for Jeanne Tripplehorn, although I didn't agree with the rape scene between her and Michael Douglas.) Even when she's not speaking, her eyes tell the story. There is depth to her eyes which were absent from Kim Novak. In Novak's eyes, she looked lost and wandering. In Sharon Stone's eyes she is enchanting, hypnotic and seductive. She has the right voice, but so did Novak.It is husky and seductive with layers of sex in each sentence. Surely this is what Hitchcock wanted to achieve with Grace Kelly, but probably would have done better with Kim Novak. If Sharon Stone had a successful job as an actress before this film, she had a successful career as a film star after this film.
The Interrogation scene is a work of art in terms of performance, framing and direction. Sharon Stone is in control making the detectives sweat with sexual hunger. She has a profound effect on Michael Douglas who repeats her behaviour when he is interrogated later on. This shows how she is drawing him into her without him even realising it, almost like a black widow ready to swallow up her mate after sex,
Now because the film runs over two hours, there are going to be some scenes that drag its feet. However, they are cancelled out by the phenomenally strong scenes such as the opening scene, the interrogation scene, the nightclub scene, the sex scene that follows and the Michael Douglas interrogation scene.
Jeanne Tripplehorn is attractive and sexy in the scene that she is raped, but you kind of wonder where she goes from here because apart from 'Sliding Doors' she doesn't go on to do anything significant. Sharon Stone had a track record as a good actress in dull movies before making this film, and went on to do 'Sliver' and other movies after this film. Michael Douglas already had a track record with 'Fatal Attraction' for this sort of film, and would go on to do 'Disclosure' and 'A Perfect Murder'.
on 26 November 2014
Almost everyone with access to a TV has seen Basic Instinct, and all because of one reason - Sharon Stone flashing the bit of herself that only boyfriends and gynaecologists usually see.
And therein lies the problem.
Basic Instinct has become a victim of its own infamy. Everyone remembers THAT scene, but they don't remember what a thoroughly superb thriller the film is.
Borrowing elements of Fatal Attraction and improving on them, Basic Instinct is the quintessential thriller of the 90s, albeit with tons of nudity and very realistic sex scenes. There were many awful imitators, like Sliver, Disclosure, and even the sequel to this film, but they all pale in comparison.
Michael Douglas offers a taut, yet restrained performance, Sharon Stone is simply mesmerising, and an honourable mention should go to George Dzunza, who plays off of Douglas nicely.
The script seems cliched at first glance, until you realise that this was the film that spawned the wannabes - other movies stole ideas from THIS.
For the minority, Basic Instinct is a soft porn shuffle-fest. For those who actually understand it, it is a terrific, tightly-plotted thriller that isn't all about sex.