Basic Instinct 2
Time Out saysFourteen years after director Paul Verhoeven and scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas created the definitive ‘erotic thriller’, ‘Scandal’ director Michael Caton-Jones’ belated sequel is better than it has any right to be: superfluous, certainly, but also smart, stylish and, above all, knowing. It’s as if scriptwriters Leora Barish and Henry Bean (‘The Believer’) read all the academic articles lavished upon Verhoeven’s sub-Hitchcockian shagfest, then fashioned a clever riff on its central themes.
‘Basic Instinct’ was a Michael Douglas film that made Sharon Stone a star. Here, British actor David Morrissey plays second fiddle to Stone’s fading looks and sexual allure, which unbalances things from the outset. Following a car accident that leaves sportsman Kevin Franks (ex-footballer Stan Collymore) ‘dead in the water’, uptight criminal psychiatrist Dr Michael Glass (Morrissey) declares that crime novelist Catherine Tramell (Stone) suffers from ‘risk addiction’. Tramell is cleared of suspicion, but subsequent private therapy sessions draw Glass into a world of dangerous sexual obsession and tantalising mind games. Fictional crimes from Tramell’s novels seem to be happening for real, but who’s manipulating whom? Has Dr Glass lost the plot or has he found a way of rewriting it?
As a stand-alone film, this doesn’t work; but viewed through the prism of the original, it offers some twisted, self-conscious pleasures. Ideas and images bounce off the hard, shiny surfaces of a modern, sexy London epitomised by the phallic architectural thrust of the Gherkin. Despite reams of cod-psychoanalytical dialogue, Morrissey is seriously good; Stone’s performance, by contrast, is vain and self-pleasuring. Perhaps that’s why her character carries a lighter resembling both a miniature model of the Gherkin and a discreet, handbag-sized vibrator.
Author: Nigel Floyd
Fri Mar 31, 2006