Basic Instinct (1992) [Review]

132 min March 20, 1992 | | |

Plot: When an ex-rock star is stabbed to death by an icepick, Det. Nick Curran (Douglas) is called in to investigate. The prime suspect: the rock star’s girlfriend, author Catherine Tramell (Stone). As the investigation continues and his interest in Catherine deepens, Det. Curran is caught between his attraction to Catherine – and the evidence mounting against her.


Since we had just received Basic Instinct 2 (2006) from Blockbuster® – and since Heather had never seen the original – we decided to check out Basic Instinct first, and make it a Basic Instinct marathon. Since I hadn’t seen the original since ’93, I figured that would be a good way to get us up-to-date before jumping right into the sequel.

Michael Douglas and then-newcomer Sharon Stone are at the heart of Basic Instinct. Aside from shedding their clothes at every other moment (especially Stone, in some now infamous scenes), they actually do a good job of acting their way through this film – even the few times their clothes are on.

Michael Douglas has always had a knack for involving the viewer in his character, and has taken that to extremes before – playing everything from a greedy stockbroker (Wall Street) to a disgruntled worker (Falling Down). Despite the oddity of his character, he usually manages to bring a commonality to the character that the viewer relates to. In more recent years, his character acting has become less compelling (The Sentinel), but in his prime he was a powerhouse of an actor. He was definitely in his prime for Basic Instinct.

The other actors in Basic Instinct pale in comparison to these two, as Michael and Sharon dominate their scenes. Jeanne Tripplehorn tries to get in on the action a bit, but comes in a far second to either Michael or Sharon.

Aside from making a name out of Sharon Stone, this film also marked a change for Joe Esterzhas as he began his foray into sleazier stories, following Basic Instinct up with Showgirls, Sliver and Jade. Unfortunately he could never match the potent combination of seduction, deception and sex that Basic Instinct‘s every scene overflows with, and his later tries failed miserably.

With newcomer seductress Sharon Stone smoking up the screen in the biggest role of her career and pairing her with Michael Douglas in his heyday, these two couldn’t be beat. Combine that with a plot that grabs the viewer and doesn’t let up. Basic Instinct is a tense sex thriller from the opening credits.

A warning for you parents out there: you’ll be amazed this only got an R. Nudity abounds, and sex is abundant and rough, so be sure to keep this one away from the youngsters.

For adults, however, Basic Instinct is a sexy thriller that’s become a classic, and should be seen at least once – if only to figure out what everyone has been talking about for 15 years.

Now let’s just hope they don’t screw it up totally with the sequel, Basic Instinct 2 (2006). Guess we will find out soon enough.

    Basic Instinct (1992) has a running time of 2 hrs 12 mins and is rated for strong violence and sensuality, and for drug use and language. Want to learn more? Visit the IMDB Page .

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DVD Features

  • Widescreen
  • Animated Menus
  • Scene Access
  • Feature-Length Audio Commentary by Feminist Critic Camille Paglia
  • 2 Featurettes:
    • "Blonde Poison" (Making Of)
    • "Cleaning Up Basic Instinct"
  • 3 Storyboard Comparison Scenes:
    • Love Scene
    • Car Chase
    • Elevator Murder
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Cast & Crew Bios


An ex-Floridian, ex-Baltimorian now living in Arizona, Reid wants to get into a career that involves web-design, but for now enjoys working on critiQal in his spare time.

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