BASIC INSTINCT 2: RISK ADDICTION
Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), a respected London criminal psychiatrist, is brought in by Scotland Yard detective Roy Washburn (David Thewlis) to perform a psychiatric evaluation of crime novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), following the death of a sports star in her presence. Physically drawn to Tramell and mentally intrigued by her, Glass, against the advice of his mentor, Dr. Milena Gardosh (Charlotte Rampling), is quickly sucked into her web of lies and seduction. A deadly battle of wits ensues, while several people around them also die in mysterious circumstances. Can Glass avoid suspicion; is Washburn implicated; does Catherine write true fictions?
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
First off, to save you waiting, yes Sharon Stone looks good - as good as money can buy and as good as the illusion of cinema can deliver. But is this enough? No. Catherine Tramell is brittle, shrill and faux; she isn't a real person, which robs the film of its vital organ. She's a hologram of the character who set fire to the ice last time. It's no less than the filmmakers have done with the 'project'.
The most sincere form of flattery, even in the movies, is imitation, and these filmmakers have clearly flattered both writer Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven who made the original, released in 1992. The post-feminist, post-Greed Is Good timing was perfect for a world where a Mistress of the Universe controlled men with her sexuality, killed them and loved it. Verhoeven's fearless work made the film infamous, helped of course by Sharon Stone's fearless work... Here was a kind of slasher film for grown ups, with the hot Michael Douglas as a potential slashee.
This film is like a burp, a repeat, a regurgitation, slightly re-formed but essentially containing the same ingredients. The reprise of the red herrings, the possibility of two or more serial killers and the sex are all there, but like the coldly functional sex, the elements don't heat up as they should.
David Thewlis walks off with the acting honours and is the most entertaining as well as credible element in the film, a dry but layered detective who gives us glimpses of a battered soul which may indeed be corrupted by proximity to the radioactive human waste of his work environment.
David Morrissey has the unenviable task of playing a character who can't reveal whether he is or isn't what we imagine, and Charlotte Rampling is reliably likeable as a shrink (brushing up on her Hungarian).
It's a preposterous script, desperately wishing to elevate itself by confusion, false leads and lots of sexual tension, sexual activity and sexual line crossing, but in the end it offers a rather absurd and unsatisfactory climax.
Review by Louise Keller:
Twelve years after the original film flashed its controversial headlights in the shapely, unclad form of Sharon Stone as a bi-sexual novelist with a penchant for Michael Douglas, ice-picks and no underwear, the risk addict is back in full flight. Seduction is the ultimate weapon in Basic Instinct 2, a lurid see-saw of manipulation and control, which plays like an unoriginal, racy page turner. The minimalist and stylishly designed London settings work in the film's favour, yet the psychological impact achieved by director Michael Caton-Jones is minimised by melodrama and sensationalism. The twists and turns are more breathy than breath-taking, and sex is showy without eroticism.
There's no shortage of sex and sexy taunts however, as Stone spreads her sights (and legs) to David Morrissey's assessing psychiatrist Michael Glass, whose resistance is quick to shatter. Sex and speed are the ingredients for the attention grabbing opening sequence, in which Stone's Catherine Tramell gets her kicks being manhandled in a speeding sports car. The signposts signalling the raunchy direction of the film are clear from the very beginning, and Stone (looking fabulously sultry in true Hollywood style) slips in and out of her clothes with disarming fervour. Slinky black numbers adorned by Chopard are decorative casing, sheer shirts cling possessively and ultra-pointy stilettos scream their blatant invitation. Ice-picks have now been replaced by strangulation collars, although a couple of scenes pay homage to the familial hand groping under the bed. 'Who do you think I'm going to kill next - you can figure it out,' she purrs naked from a steaming, roof-top Jacuzzi.
An actor with more gravitas (think Jeremy Irons) would have made Glass more satisfying for me; after all, it is the size of the fall that impacts on its effectiveness. The chemistry between psychiatrist and patient lacks the TNT factor, but the inclusion of thesps Charlotte Rampling and David Thewlis as shrink and noir-ish detective, elevate the proceedings considerably.
The original remains just that - an original. As a mystery thriller about control and obsession, the sequel tries to turn up the heat, but never reaches boiling point.
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BASIC INSTINCT 2: RISK ADDICTION (MA)
CAST: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis, Hugh Dancy, Anne Caillon, Iain Robertson
PRODUCER: Moritz Borman, Mario Kassar, Andrew G. Vajna
DIRECTOR: Michael Caton-Jones
SCRIPT: Leora Barish, Henry Bean
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gyula Pados
EDITOR: John Scott
MUSIC: John Murphy, John Scot
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Norman Garwood
RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 30, 2006