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Basic Instinct

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  • Basic Instinct

    So how's everyone feeling about this one now? I caught this again on TV again last night and count me in as an absolutely unabashed fan of this film. I know a lot of people don't like the term American Giallo but I don't mind it and this is my favourite American Giallo.

    So well directed; the cameras everywhere, left, right, up peoples noses, up Sharon's skirt but never losing sight of the need for good compositions. Brilliant score which I'm currently using as a temp track myself. Tough talking but clever script that was- I think- at one point the most expensive script in Hollywood.* Sharon's one note but that kind of works for the character and she's hot here. It's a shame for her she became a star at about the same time as she began the slide into middle age but she's perfect here (as a side note in his biography Eszterhas claims Sharon took him to bed to pay him back for writing the role. "I still felt underpaid" he said.)

    Much as I dig it though I get the impression there's not a lot of love out there for BI. I think the ramped up, over wrought sex is a stumbling point for some people. And it is silly... but it's cool too. With BI Veerhoven is just doing for sex what he did for violence with Robocop.

    *As a side note it would be interesting to track through Hollywood history what the most expensive scripts were. Unlike the most expensive actors, the ones I can think of (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Basic Intinct) tended to make great films.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

  • #2
    Not sure why the script cost so much.....but apart from that it is Verhoeven on fine form....(mind you, I love SHOWGIRLS maybe I am just a fan of anything from the guy rather than an unbiased film fan!!)


    • #3
      Originally posted by sukebanboy View Post
      Not sure why the script cost so much.....
      Eszterhas had a strange career. Without having an early smash film (Flashdance was big I guess) he was the hottest writer in Hollywood for a while with his agent holding auctions with the major studios for any script he churned out. Pretty sure he got paid even more for Sliver a couple years later and, yeah, even the Showgirls script went for a healthy sum but pretty much ended his career right there.
      "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.


      • #4
        Aside from his hits it sounds like his agent was a good salesman.


        • #5
          I like Basic Instinct too, basically for the reasons you've expressed in your opening post, Dom. It really is very Giallo-esque in a lot of ways, lots of stylish sex and violence and a very cool vampish role for Stone who, in my opinion, is pretty much perfect in the role. Not Verhoeven's best movie but still plenty entertaining.
          Rock! Shock! Pop!


          • #6
            I watched Verhoeven's THE FOURTH MAN a few weeks ago and loved it. My only criticism is that it's a bit heavy handled with the symbolism. To my amusement, Verhoeven mentions in the commentary that he went overboard with symbolism as a "joke" on those that criticized SPETTERS for being to shallow. According to Verhoeven, the joke worked and the THE FOURTH MAN was praised by the critics. It's a fun film that has a lot in common with BASIC INSTINCT. Fans of BI should track it down.

            THE FOURTH MAN gave me a craving for BASIC INSTINCT, a film I enjoyed greatly but hadn't seen in more than 15 years. I watched it over the weekend and was floored. I walked away with the feeling that my favorite Verhoeven film will always be the last one I've seen. I agree with what Dom said but have to add how surprised I was by the soundtrack. It's exceptionally good. Verhoeven mentions in the commentary that Goldsmith wanted to kill him because it took six weeks for him to approve the main theme. I'm glad he was so persistent because I often feel like many of Goldsmith's tracks sound the same. Stone is a stunner, both in looks and performance. Even my wife (not a movie buff) was floored by our revisit of BI.

            I'm pleased to see BASIC INSTINCT get some love. I'm so used to reading people that don't get Verhoeven's work.
            Jason C
            Senior Member
            Last edited by Jason C; 09-24-2015, 08:46 AM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jason C View Post
              I'm so used to reading people that don't get Verhoeven's work.
              His films do have a habit of going over a lot of peoples heads. Just read Roger Ebert's review of Starship Troopers. Regarding The 4th Man, yeah it was definitely a precursor to Basic Instinct. Its my favorite of his films, its like Hitchcock with a bout of DT's while coming down from a whiskey bender. The imagery is astounding, especially those scenes in the cemetery. Like a Delvaux painting come to life.

              I watched Basic Instinct a few months back when I was going through my PV collection again and of course it still works like a charm. An icy blonde, bisexual, psychotic, totally slutty charm. It may only be 23 years old but nevertheless its from an era long past, when Hollywood would actually back something with balls, something that pissed people off to the point of protest. It may be cliché to say but a film like this just couldn't get made today in the studio system what with the culture being so hypersensitive and PC.

              *Edit* Does anyone else have the "ice box" DVD from way back when that came with the ice pick pen? One of the few instances of gimmick packaging actually worth owning. Looks awesome and fits snugly on the shelf with the other DVD's.

              Tom Clark
              Senior Member
              Last edited by Tom Clark; 09-23-2015, 06:09 PM.


              • #8
                Fantastic film. One of the very few times when an "Erotic thriller" actually works, and the tone works for it, and not against it, as is usually the norm for this genre.
                "No presh from the Dresh!"


                • #9
                  Totally wore this VHS out as a lonely, frustrated yute.

                  The mere sight of Jeanne Tripplehorn still warms my heart. Nevermind Stone, Trip trip's where it's at.

                  Oh, not on Cauliflower! Oh, not on Broccoli!


                  • #10
                    One of the most hilarious TV edits ever.

                    "You damn dumb son of a buck ya did her!"


                    • #11
                      I hated it and I think it's Verhoven's worst. I guess it has cheesy appeal? Maybe? I don't know. I like Bill Hicks' review:

                      "Ah! By god's balls what licentiousness!"

                      Marquis de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom.


                      • #12
                        I loved it. :) Love the soundtrack too.