Basic Instinct: The Birth of the “modern” bleach-blonde psycho bombshell

But for all of its notoriety, “Basic Instinct” is probably still best remembered as the film that made Sharon Stone a star. And arguably she gives the best performance of her career here — save perhaps her Oscar-nominated turn in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” — managing to perfectly synthesize the classic Hitchcockian icy blonde with a modern, ‘90s vulgarity, yet never seem like a victim of Verhoeven and Eszterhas’ misogyny. One need look no further than the film’s infamous “police interrogation” scene to see the exact moment when Stone cunningly took what was trash on the page and — with a simple uncrossing of her legs — ushered in an entirely new cinematic paradigm of female empowerment. When Catherine turns the tables on her male oppressors, it’s really Stone completely disarming any leering male who has ever objectified a woman and thought it was a compliment. Stone wields more than just her literal ice pick in “Basic Instinct” — she slowly and slyly decimates the myth of patriarchy, one stab at a time. Beautiful women have what we all want, the smart ones know how to use it to their best advantage. They can even get away with murder.

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