Combustible Celluloid
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With: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Denis Arndt, Dorothy Malone, Leilani Sarelle, Bruce A. Young, Chelcie Ross, Wayne Knight, Daniel von Bargen, Stephen Tobolowsky, Benjamin Mouton, Jack McGee, Bill Cable
Written by: Joe Eszterhas
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and sensuality, and for drug use and language
Running Time: 128
Date: 03/20/1992

Basic Instinct (1992)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ice Picky

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Paul Verhoeven's sex mystery worked only if you turned off your brain completely and watched from below the waist. (Too many people took this movie too seriously.) And it actually works in a nasty, tasteless sort of way.

A San Francisco cop (Michael Douglas) tries to solve a series of murders centered around the work of a mystery writer (Sharon Stone -- who deserved an Oscar nomination).

The screenplay by Joe Eszterhas is a kind of masterpiece of salesmanship and bluster without intelligence or grace. It's unrestrained and vulgar in a way that's almost admirable.

Verhoeven and Jan de Bont make excellent use of San Francisco locations, using the City's various twists and turns for gleefully sinister effect. The legendary Dorothy Malone co-stars in her final role to date.

Artisan's 2002 DVD release included two commentary tracks with director Verhoeven and sex writer Camille Paglia, plus lots of other extras, including an ice-pick shaped pen!

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