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Basic Instinct

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France, United States, United Kingdom · 1992
Rated R · 2h 7m
Director Paul Verhoeven
Starring Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Genre Erotic, Mystery, Thriller

Catherine Tramell, a beautiful crime novelist, becomes a suspect when she is linked to the brutal death of a rock star. Investigated by homicide detective Nick Curran, Catherine seduces him into an intense relationship. Meanwhile, the murder case becomes increasingly complicated as more seemingly connected deaths occur.

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What are critics saying?


TV Guide Magazine by

The worst things about Basic Instinct, though, are the explicit "love" scenes. They're supposed to contribute to a heady equation in which sex, violence and psychology are fused; instead, they're gratuitous, exploitative, and entirely unerotic.


Christian Science Monitor by David Sterritt

Verhoeven's lurid thriller has moments of welcome self-parody, but most of the action manages to be sensationalistic, homophobic, and tedious at the same time. [20 Mar 1992, Arts, p.12]


Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

A reminder of the difference between exhilaration and exhaustion, between tension and hysteria, between eroticism and exhibitionism. The line may be fine, but it is real enough to separate the great thrillers from the also-rans. And Basic Instinct is not a great thriller.


USA Today by Mike Clark

The film never makes total sense, but at its best (the first half-hour), it comes closer to solidly junky titillation than the hapless Final Analysis. [20 Mar 1992, Life, p.1D]


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

Beneath its heavy-breathing fripperies, though, Basic Instinct is mechanical and routine, a muddle of Hitchcockian red herrings and standard cop-thriller ballistics.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

The film is for horny pups of all ages who relish the memory of reading stroke books under the covers with a flashlight. Verhoeven has spent $49 million to reproduce that dirty little thrill on the big screen.


Time by Richard Schickel

This reflects its fundamental flaw of arrogance, a smug faith in the ability of its own speed, smartness and luxe to wow the yokels.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The film is like a crossword puzzle. It keeps your interest until you solve it. Then it's just a worthless scrap with the spaces filled in.

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