Basic Instinct (DVD, 2001, Special Limited Edition)

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Sharon Stone Bares it All for Graphic Sex Scenes in Basic Instinct

Mar 25, 2006 (Updated Sep 19, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sharon Stone. Interesting idea for the plot.

Cons:Too graphic for some viewers. Weak overall mystery.

The Bottom Line: Basic Instinct had a few problems but was still entertaining. It isn't a movie for everyone.


In 1992, Basic Instinct was released amid a lot of controversy because of the graphic sex scenes, nudity, and gay characters. I do remember hearing about some of the controversy. All of the publicity surrounding this movie did make me curious. I ended up renting the movie once it was out on video. It had some problems, but I thought it was entertaining for the most part.

****Disclaimer****
Basic Instinct contained a lot of graphic sexual situations and acts throughout the movie. I don’t feel like I can really discuss the movie without mentioning those aspects as well. It is not my intention to offend anyone with this review. People that don’t like to read about graphic sex or are just uncomfortable with the subject may want to stop reading now.
****End of Disclaimer****

Johnny Boz, a famous rock star, was having sex with a blond woman who pulled an ice pick out from under the covers and stabbed him repeatedly while she had an orgasm. Catherine Tramell, the woman he’d been having sex with for the last year, became the main suspect once the police found out that she had been the last person seen with him before the murder. Catherine was an author that had written a book about a former rock star being killed in the same way. She was also sexually involved with Rocky, a young woman that lived in her house. Nick Curran and his partner Gus Moran were working on the case. Nick had recently been investigated by internal affairs and he still had to go see Dr. Beth Garner, the psychiatrist that worked for the police department. They’d had a sexual relationship in the past and there seemed to still be some sexual tension between them. After working on the investigation for a short time, Nick started reverting to his previous behavior of drinking and smoking. He also had sex with Beth again, getting rough with her and practically raping her. Catherine, who also had a degree in psychology, seemed to enjoy messing with Nick’s head. He seemed to be drawn to her even though he told others he thought she was lying. Even though he said he had major doubts about her, he started having sex with her. More people were found dead, which complicated the investigation.

Johnny Boz was murdered within the first few minutes of Basic Instinct. Most of the movie was focused on solving that murder. A few other dead bodies were also discovered, making things a little more complicated for the characters. Nick being under investigation by internal affairs kept popping up and causing him problems. He still had to see Beth for some kind of therapy. The therapy and Nick being under investigation really didn’t impact the case any way. It was like those things were just thrown in the mix to try to cause more turmoil for Nick. He was put on suspension at one point and he just carried on investigating Catherine on his own. More evidence continued to be uncovered, some of which seemed to really complicate certain situations. I did think that the mystery aspect was interesting even though it wasn’t as strong as it could have been. There were some things that happened that really didn’t make sense. All the attention given to sex scenes did detract from the mystery, which made that part of the movie weaker. This was an erotic thriller type of movie. After the movie was released and made so much money, several other erotic thrillers were released over the next few years, all trying to be the next Basic Instinct.

Catherine was considered a suspect as soon as the police learned that she had been with Johnny the night he was killed. It did seem very cut and dried, but there was more going on that helped to add some surprises. Certain things were predictable but I still thought that the movie was entertaining and interesting. There were a few suspenseful scenes in the movie, though I did think that the suspense could have been stronger. Johnny’s murder was shown as it happened, with the face of the killer not clearly shown. Her hair covered most of her face when the camera was actually aimed there. The scene was very violent and blood ended up all over the place. The blood-covered scene was shown more when Nick and the other police officers first arrived. It really wasn’t a pleasant sight. Johnny’s murder was the only really violent scene in the movie. Other people ended up dead without the deaths being shown on camera. The dead bodies, some of which looked worse than others, were shown. There really wasn’t a lot of violence in the movie, but it will be too violent for many viewers. Most of the characters used profanity throughout the movie, including many variations of the word that rhymes with luck. The theatrical version of the movie was rated R and the director’s cut version is unrated. Children shouldn’t see either version.

Basic Instinct included several graphic sex scenes throughout the movie. I think most of the publicity that the movie received when it first came out was focused on the sex aspect of the movie. Some of the controversy and publicity was connected to a few gay characters and how they were portrayed. I remember hearing that some of the sex scenes had to be edited so the movie still would get the R rating. The director’s cut version of the movie is available now and is only one minute longer. The movie started off with a graphic sex scene that made it clear that Johnny and the woman were both naked. Her bare breasts were shown more than once during the short scene. The next sex scene featured Nick and Beth. As they got more into it, Nick got rougher and then didn’t stop when Beth told him to. That could be seen as rape and be offensive to some viewers. A bit later, Nick and Catherine shared the longest sex scene. The scene was sensual and very graphic, including showing both performing oral sex on the other. Nick and Catherine continued their volatile relationship and continued having sex. Catherine was also involved with Rocky. The two women weren’t shown sharing a sex scene but it was made clear that they had a sexual relationship through a few actions. The sex scenes may be too graphic for some viewers. Catherine was also briefly shown nude in a few other scenes that didn’t involve sex at all. She let a room full of police officers know that she wasn’t wearing any underwear in one of the more well known scenes of the movie. It was mainly the women characters that were shown in various stages of nudity. Nick’s bare backside was shown once or twice and that was it for male nudity.

Nick had a lot of things going on in his life when he started the case. He said that he thought she was lying but he still got involved in a sexual relationship with her. He seemed to lose his objectivity related to her the longer he knew her. That didn’t seem very smart to me. I didn’t think there was anything special about Michael Douglas in this part. His character really wasn’t that likeable. His part was a bit different in A Perfect Murder. Catherine was a successful author that also had a psychology degree. She enjoyed playing mind games with people, especially Nick. Catherine was a very sexual person and didn’t seem to care if other people saw her naked. Catherine was an intriguing character and did make things more interesting. Sharon Stone was very good and convincing in the part. She’d been in movies before Basic Instinct, but this part is the one that really made her famous. I did hear that several actresses turned down the part of Catherine before Stone took it.

I really didn’t think any of the characters were developed that much, including Nick and Catherine. Beth and Nick had some kind of past that was never fully explained. It didn’t seem right that she was in charge of his therapy when they’d had a sexual relationship. Jeanne Tripplehorn was fine in the part, though she did seem to be over acting in a few scenes. Gus Moran was Nick’s partner. The two men seemed to be friends. There was really nothing shared about Gus. George Dzundza did all right with the part. Roxy seemed very jealous of Nick’s relationship with Catherine. Roxy seemed angry in most of her scenes. Other than her being involved with Catherine, there was nothing shared about her. Leilani Sarelle didn’t have much to work with in the part. Johnny Boz was only briefly shown before his murder so Bill Cable really didn’t have much to do. Wayne Knight had a very small part as a district attorney. Stephen Tobolowsky had a small part as well. I didn’t think that any of the acting was really great.

Main Cast

Bill Cable - Johnny Boz
Michael Douglas - Nick
George Dzundza - Gus Moran
Wayne Knight - John Correli
Leilani Sarelle - Roxy
Sharon Stone - Catherine
Stephen Tobolowsky - Dr. Lamott
Jeanne Tripplehorn - Dr. Beth Garner

Paul Verhoeven - Director

Basic Instinct was originally released on VHS for people to own or rent. There are a few different DVD versions now available as well. The theatrical R rated version is available along with one or two different DVDs of the director’s cut. I don’t think the R rated version had any extras included on the DVD. There are commentaries and a few short documentaries on the unrated versions. The documentaries discussed how the movie was made and how the movie has been edited for television. I think the director’s cuts versions are only available in widescreen.

Basic Instinct had some problems, but I think it can be an entertaining movie if viewers don’t take it too serious. Because of the graphic sex scenes and violence, this isn’t a movie for everyone.



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