Basic Instinct

Now that Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls has undergone critical rehab, is it time to revisit his other hypersexual ‘90s lightning rod? The director and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas were condemned at the time for peddling sleaze and stereotypes, and subtle it ain’t. Michael Douglas plays the nominal protagonist, a loose-cannon San Francisco cop trying to solve a string of bloody murders connected to an aggressively omnisexual mystery writer (Sharon Stone). In 2021, however, it’s Team Aggressively Omnisexual Mystery Writer all the way. -LG

1992 Paul Verhoeven. 2.35:1 Color DCP 127 min.