Review by Paul Stathakis | 2006

A rolling Stone

Catherine is a good writer but is even better at being seductively evil.  In “Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction”, Sharon Stone demonstrates how at 40 she can still win our attention.  Her performance is wild and perverse but the film is neither of those things.  The story is more complex that it should be and the detectives spent a great deal of their time running around looking for answers answers.  They try to dig up enough evidence to prove Catherine’s guilt.  But could anyone ever trust a wicked woman like Catherine?  One look at her tells us everything we need to know about her.

I’m tempted to talk more about Stone’s performance because it is her best since “Casino” (1995).  Her words tease as much as her body language and, at one point, her main weapon becomes her body.  Stoner’s character is supposed to manipulate not only the central characters but us, the viewers.  She succeeds on all levels.

The story begins with Catherine who is speeding in an Audi.  In the passenger seat is a football player who looks as though he has had his share of drugs for one night.  Catherine sets the tone for her character by pleasing herself while driving. To get into the details would not be suitable. Suffice to say that, between her speedy driving and pleasing herself, she loses control of the vehicle and crashes into a river.  She is able to escape from the car, unharmed, while the football player stays strapped in his seat, drowns and dies.

Catherine goes to the police and admits that, “When it came to it, my life was more important than his.” They cannot find enough evidence to charge her with murder so a brazing detective, Washburn, decides to have her evaluated by a psychologist who, at first, is not bewildered by Catherine’s sex-driven attitude. When she attempts to light a cigarette, he says, “I’m sorry. There is no smoking in here.”  Catherine smiles sarcastically and says, “You know what I like about you. You like to be in control, like me.” We see Catherine at work, warming up, preparing her plan. The doctor sees something else. Several moments like this one seem straight out of a film noir, especially when Catherine discusses her addiction to risk with her psychologist. 

The story is quite elaborate and, in the end, it just doesn’t balance. The good thrillers we’ve seen sometimes had a lead actress who was sexy and saying sexy things and perhaps doing sexy things.  But did we ever believe she was innocent?  Did we ever think she might get away easily?  Never.  Here, we’re asked to accept the outcome which is, in essence, unconventional to a certain degree.  But it is illogical and we know it’s not a fair ending.  We feel cheated.

The only reason one would want to see this movie is for Sharon Stone’s presence. She appears in virtually every scene and is almost naughty each time the camera cuts to her. There is a full frontal scene when Catherine steps into a Jacuzzi and I suspect the film incorporated such a scene to create “buzz” for the movie.  But this film cannot work on sex appeal alone though it tries. We’ve seen worst films this year. With the exception of a seductive Stone, “Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction” never attempts to be risky in a good thrilling sense.

 

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