This steamy thriller to end all steamy thrillers stars Michael Douglas as Nick, a boozy San Francisco police detective who finds himself drawn to the prime suspect in a murder case--manipulative, sexually uninhibited novelist Catherine Trammell (Sharon Stone). Catherine's latest book features a murder uncannily similar to the one Nick is investigating, and as the pair engage in a mating dance of dangerous one-upmanship, more murders occur, all described in her current work, about a boozy cop in love with a killer. Nick's psychiatrist (Jeanne Tripplehorn), and cop partner (George Dzundza) are both worried about him, and Catherine's jealous lesbian lover (Leilani Sarelle) may be trying to kill him, but Nick is just too turned on to care.
Director Paul Verhoeven shows an admirable lack of restraint in this ludicrously enjoyable thriller, a sort of postmodern noir with Joe Eszterhas's script coming off like Mamet by way of Penthouse. Stone and Douglas exhibit fine chemistry (and most of their bodies), and there's some lovely Bay Area scenery courtesy of cinematographer Jan de Bont (who went on to direct films such as SPEED and TWISTER). Wayne Knight (Newman from SEINFELD) and Mitch Pileggi (Skinner from THE X-FILES) are precinct heads who question Catherine in the infamous leg-crossing scene.
On the DVD: one of the most welcome elements of the disc is an acknowledgement of the film's own influences--from Hitchcock's Vertigo to Verhoeven's own The Fourth Man. The print is far superior to the previous release, looking magnificent in 1:78.1. Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-nominated score sounds terrific in either 5.1 or DTS, as does Verhoeven's thick accent on the first commentary track alongside then Director of Photography Jan De Bont (Speed), who together reminisce on locations and manipulating their actors' performances. A second commentary from feminist critic Camille Paglia is a brave way of putting paid to the gay/feminist community uproar. There are some standard inclusions (trailer, production notes, photo gallery etc) but far more interesting are two mini-documentaries; "Cleaning Up Basic Instinct" shows how and why the TV version was so dull, while "Blonde Poison" focuses on the film's making and marketing. Finally, there are three storyboard comparisons and nine minutes of screen tests for Stone and Tripplehorn. This is the definitive release of an oft-cited modern classic.
2.35 Wide Screen
16:9 Anamorphic Wide Screen
Dolby Digital 5.1 English\DTS English
Dolby Digital 5.1
Making Of Documentary
Cleaning Up Basic Instinct And Comparison Of The TV Version To The Theatrical Version