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2,831 Ratings

Basic Instinct

Directed by Paul Verhoeven
United States, France, 1992
Thriller, Mystery, Crime


An unstable police detective in San Francisco investigates a string of homicides involving an ice pick but ends up falling for the main suspect, a seductive novelist whose recent book also features a killer who uses an ice pick to murder their victims.

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Basic Instinct Directed by Paul Verhoeven
History might unkindly consider Basic Instinct a film suspended in time, a product of its zeitgeist, marked by its controversies. But if ever there was a Hollywood film that celebrated a genuine spirit of not giving a fuck what people think, this is it.
June 22, 2017
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Returning to Basic Instinct two decades afterward, I still cannot fully embrace the film’s strenuously (deliberately?) awful dialogue, written by Joe Eszterhas, who also scripted Showgirls. But Basic Instinct’s sympathies are more complex than they might at first seem: However sinister Sharon Stone’s Pacific Heights–dwelling, ice-pick-killing authoress may be, she remains infinitely more appealing than Michael Douglas’s overweening detective.
November 08, 2016
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The film is certainly rife with moral and sexual ambiguity; if Verhoeven seems to be upholding certain narrative rules of the classic American noir, he’s simultaneously subverting (even satirizing) others. How often do we get to see a woman like Stone’s Catherine Tramell: free to fuck both men and women as she pleases, (possibly) murder people, successfully publish novels, outsmart the male cop chasing her, and get off scot-free?
October 28, 2016
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