Basic Instinct 2

Jerking your chain
Michael Caton-Jones
Sharon Stone, David Morrisey, David Thewlis, Charlotte Rampling
The Setup: 
Catherine Trammell from the first movie is up to her old tricks again.

Personally, I thought the first Basic Instinct was crap. It was just two hours of pointless manipulation with an unattractive hero and a ludicrous story. With no payoff. I thought Sharon Stone was good [I think she was doing a Madonna imitation back then], but the rest of it was just too horrible. But then again, I’m not a guy who wants to see some pussy. On the other hand, guys— have you REALLY never seen a pussy before? And you need to go to the movies to get a 1 second flash of one? That’s a little sad.

Nevertheless, I was geeked as hell to see this one. First of all, why did they go ahead and make this? Anyone with more than two synapses to rub together knows it’s going to flop. Secondly, if you’re going to do it, why do it seriously? When everyone knows there is no possible way to take this seriously. Not because Sharon Stone is “too old,” but because the first movie was really a product of its time, and I don’t think too many people are yearning for more of that kind of movie anymore. It seems that maybe the producers [and I have a sense that Stone herself had a great deal more input this time] thought we would be really interested in the question: What if we put Catherine Trammell on the analyst’s couch? That’s really the only thing I can think, though the answer is obviously: more pointless mind games.

The movie begins with drugs, fast cars, and finger-fucking. Sharon’s driving along with this doped-up athletic star and drives the car [on purpose?] into the Thames [did I mention we’re in London? For some reason?]. Then she’s brought in before this court-appointed psychologist whose state-owned office is in this gorgeous vaulted basement chamber with open walls on one side—and after all that talk about confidentiality. Anyway, as usual, Caterine regards him with an air of game-playing contempt [though supposedly she’s interested or setting up another patsy or whatever]. Anyway, she gets off [for the crime, I mean] and engages the psychologist to be her personal therapist.

Now, this psychologist. He is played by David Morrissey, whom I have never heard of before in my life, though I looked him up and it turns out he was in a lot of British TV. There are many stories about how the male role was offered to “every actor short of Corey Feldman” [that’s from The Onion—hilarious, guys], and this is what they ended up with. Yes, he’s dull. Yes, he looks both as though he’s melting [especially with his shirt off] and as though his face was fatally pinched at some point. But what’s most notable is that he conveys LESS sexual energy than that half-eaten McDonalds cheeseburger you see in the gutter on your way home. What’s more, a GREAT deal of the intrigue here is directed toward this case of his that occurred before the movie opens, and is stupifyingly boring. Everytime it came up I was like “What? Some case? Oh, oh yeah, that thing” which soon deloved into “Goddam it! That fucking stupid case AGAIN?” They simply could NOT get me to care about it, and the whole of the movie revolves around it.

Personally, I think some big, “sexy” male star like Jude Law or Brad Bitt should have totally done this movie, but make it like a critique of the first one. But whatever, we’re stuck with undead pinched melting dude.

Did you know that David Cronenberg was attached to direct this for some time? Can you imagine THAT?

For the first hour I was totally into it. You can sort of enjoy the whole hysterical-yet-“cool” vibe, and Sharon is so vampy [Sharon is TOO vampy, we’ll come back to that]. Corpses start piling up, always something that can win my affection, and there’s all sorts of breathless intrigue. But after a while I thought “This is starting to get tedious”and ONE second later my friend leaned over and said “This is starting to get really tedious.”

It doesn’t recover, and you start to think about other matters, like how the casting director must have had to work hard to find actors that were UGLIER than the leading man. They come up with some prize-worthy work, and I hope to see them represented at next year’s Oscars.

Now, to matters Sharon. She is not good. She is bad [and WHAT'S with those BANGS?]. It’s unfortunate, she was the only breath of life in Catwoman, and I’ve always kind of liked her. She comes off as highly intelligent in interviews. But here she is vamping and preening in every single shot, with every single line, and you start fantasizing about things to hit her with. What’s more, you get NO insight into her charater and why she does what she does. Yes, toward the beginning we have some claptrap about how she has a “risk addiction” [the original subtitle of this film], and she must prove her omnipotence in order to avoid negation of identity. This is delivered shortly before a shot of a Freud portrait, while we hear a Viennese-accented doctor deliver more claptrap. Regardless, sure to annoy. We’ll come back to the lack of psychology [in a movie ostensibly ABOUT psycholgy] after the spoiler mark.

Anyway, I’ll tell you right now that you don’t get no Sharon Snatch. In fact, you barely get some Sharon breast. And there’s not much sex. So the main reason most people will be coming to this movie is completelty invalid.

So you wonder what it’s all coming to. You have various theories, which the movie endorses at different points. First Sharon says she DID kill everyone, and her great art is in manipulating people and ruining lives. Then it is presented that Thewlis’ character killed them all [and again, you’re like; Who? Why?]. Then it’s presented that Mr. Pinched [David] killed them all, because he’s been plumb bonkers all along. Then you realize that the movie isn’t going to endorse any of these solutions, and the whole thing, like the first movie, has been just a tease. It jerks your chain for 2 hours, then dumps you out, rendering the entire movie a pointless exercise in time-wasting. As I recall, the first movie ended with alternate endings; first it fades out when they’re having sex, and she’s NOT the killer, then it fades back in and she reaches down for the ice pick, and she IS the killer. At least that places the question right on the surface, and while it’s a cop-out, it’s open about being a cop-out. < < < SPOILERS END

As I said, I was really hoping that there’d be some hidden meaning to all this or it would be campy enough to be fun or sleazy enough to be fun. It isn’t. And you know, if you want to see some pussy, just go ahead and buy a goddamned Penthouse. You owe it to yourself.

Should you watch it: 

For no reason.