Saturday, April 01, 2006

Listless Addiction

The opening scene of Basic Instinct 2 supplies us with a promise. Sharon Stone returning to the screen in the role that made her (in)famous, speeds through the streets of London in a VERY expensive car while her black companion fingers her. The sequence is shot like an action film, speeding cars and flashy bling. Suddenly (and in keeping) the car bursts through a street sign and plunges into the river. Stone's Catherine Tramell attempts to save her lover, yet gives up all too quickly, floating to the surface of the water with water-balletic grace. Though you could see the sequence being a tad more crass, you hope the following film will make up for the lack of gratuitousness. You take it as a promise. Alas, it is the sad duty for this critic to inform you that Basic Instinct does not keep its promise. Instead, it plays out as a supreme bore.

I was REALLY looking forward to Basic Instinct. It's been a while since we've had a good Pop Culture sex flick in the Wild Things or Cruel Intentions vain, and god knows America needs a good finger in its asshole. Basic Instinct 2 rather wallows in a tale of a successful London psychiatrist who fucked up once and cannot afford to do it again. Enter Sharon Stone. Yeah, you already get the idea. Even Charlotte Rampling cannot save this one from dullsville. I found myself trying to get excited about a slightly provocative nude shot of Morrissey from behind, or Morrissey "violently" (which this day and age is hardly violent) fucking random girl on all fours. Stone gives us a peek at her wholeness, but its only, pardon the pun, a sliver - and that's hardly enough to live up to the scene.

It will come as no surprise to say that Stone is the sole reason to see the film (thought I'm a big fan of Charlotte Rampling). Stone seldom reveals her age, as everything on that frame has been stretched, pinned back and puffed up, respectively. Her breasts resemble some sort of vestibule plucked straight from the assembly line. But when a gangly arm or knobby knee is shown in the wrong light, one that has escaped the art of post production, that illusion of the flawless Stone is obliterated, and the film could be read as a contemporary Plastic Surgery parable. More compelling, however, is watching her drop all pretenses and act on her delusions of grandeur. Oddly, Basic Instinct 2 delivers the psychological study of its tagline in a very different way. We are watching Stone's inner fantasies play out on the big screen. When it comes right down to it, there is not that great of a difference between Tramell and Stone. However much she may want us to believe it's her character, it's not, and when she is "acting", that's another source of amusement entirely.


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