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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