The Film: Basic Instinct, with the most famous leg-crossing in film history, is an erotic neo-noir thriller by dutch Director Paul Verhoeven. It became one of the highest grossing movies of the 90s, making over £233 million globally.
Starring Michael Douglas (Wall Street, Behind the Candelabra) and catapulting Sharon Stone (Total Recall, Casino) to stardom, the film centres around the investigation of the murder of a wealthy musician by detective Nick Curran (Douglas), and his increasingly tempestuous and erotic relationship with the prime suspect Catherine Tramell (Stone), a psychology graduate and crime novelist.
The Director: Verhoeven is known for his use of both explicitly violent and sexual content in his movies, often as a means to satirise or polemicise modern society. Other than Basic Instinct, he is well known for his other films including RoboCop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers. His films have been nominated, in total, for 9 Academy Awards; and his film Black Book
was voted by the Netherlands public as the best Dutch film ever.
The Critics: Alongside its commercial success, Basic Instinct garnered critical praise from both The New York Times and Rolling Stone, with critics describing Verhoeven’s film as a “cinematic wet dream,” that “delivers the goods, especially when Sharon Stone struts on with enough come-on carnality to singe the screen.”
Janet Maslin said this of the film: “Basic Instinct transfers Mr. Verhoeven’s flair for action-oriented material to the realm of Hitchcockian intrigue, and the results are viscerally effective even when they don’t make sense.”