Basic Instinct 2 (5/10)
by Tony Medley
Advertised as a
“psychological thriller,” this movie loses credibility at the outset
when a car careens into The Thames in London. As it sinks, we see a well
lit car slowly settling down to the bottom of the river. The electronic
windows work perfectly. Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) has time to try
to get her lover out of the passenger seat. The visibility is perfect.
Then she lowers the window and easily floats to the surface.
Director Michael Caton-Jones
and writers Leora Barish and Henry Bean apparently didn’t take a good
look at The Thames, which is as dirty a river as one could imagine,
especially as it flows through London. I know because I practiced law in
London and my office was a half block from The Thames. I saw it every
day. If a car fell into the river once it got two feet below the surface
visibility would be zero. You wouldn’t be able to see your hand in front
of your face. Worse, this accident occurs in the middle of the night, so
there’s no sun to shine through the muck. So much for believability.
But these are among the least
offensive of the movie because Sharon Stone doesn’t talk much, just
moans as she is being sexually aroused by her passenger as her car flies
into the river. After that she has to deliver lines.
As bad as her delivery, poor
Sharon wears such heavy pancake makeup to make her 47 year-old face
appear seductive that it’s amazing she could maneuver her lips to get
out comprehensible sentences. Unfortunately, when she does, she sounds
like a poor imitation of Mae West.
Actually, I give Sharon’s
performance short shrift if I merely refer to the way she delivers her
lines. Wait until you see the way she walks! They say that John Wayne
mastered his walk for westerns and he only walked that way when he was
in a western. Well, Sharon must have studied Mae for a long time because
when she walks, well, you have to see it to believe it.
The sad part of all this is
that this could have been a good movie. Dr. Michael Glass (David
Morrissey), is a forensic psychiatrist, as well as a clinical
psychiatrist. Brought in by Scotland Yard detective Roy Washburn (David
Thewlis), he testifies against Catherine and then gets caught up in her
web, apparently. Poor Morrissey either didn’t read the script or he
didn’t appreciate the lack of talent residing in Ms. Stone, because his
performance could be a career-buster.
The sets (Norman Garwood) are
exceptional. The cinematography (Gyula Pados) is often reminiscent of
the best of Alfred Hitchcock, presenting lighting and atmosphere that
with a better director, or a better leading lady, and a better script,
should have produced enormous tension.
Alas, their work is
undermined by dialogue that hardly rises to the level of trite. Combined
with Ms. Stone’s delivery and you’ve got a movie that should live on as
camp for years to come. There was more laughter from my screening
audience at this film than I have heard at Will Ferrell movies, but I
realize that that’s damning with faint praise, because Will doesn’t
produce many yucks. Maybe some far-seeing producer will team Will with
Sharon. Since Will tries to be funny and isn’t and Sharon tries to be
serious and isn’t, and since neither of them can act, that could be
something to see.
If I were rating this movie
as a “psychological thriller” it would be straining to give it a 1. But
surely they can't be serious. If you view it as camp, it's much more
entertaining. Sharon Stone’s performance should not be missed by any
March 28, 2006