Sunday, April 09, 2006

"I want that cunt in jail"

I figured I should headline my review with a sample of the quality of dialogue in this long in coming sequel. So you know what kind of opinion I had of the film up front. I went to see this as I figured that like Showgirls it could be a guilty pleasure, so spectacularly, mindblowingly, incomprehensibly bad that it is in fact wonderful and a huge amount of fun to watch. Alas, save for the occasional moment of unintentional laugh out loud silliness, Basic Instinct 2 is simply so bad it's plain bad.

What's more it's slow and it's boring. Note to the creative team: we have all seen the first movie. We all know Catherine Tramell is a psycho sexual lunatic who ensnares men in her web of murder and deceit. We don't need an hour long "will they won't they" prologue. The second we see her psychiatrist, Michael Glass (David Morrissey who is so much better than this, I really don't know what the hell he was thinking) we know that they'll end up sleeping together and he'll end up obsessed with her and ultimately she's setting him up to take the fall for her. So why make us wait so long for it, to wade through reels of tedium and motivations that beggar belief to get to the plot itself?

Once the plot does kick in properly, assuming the audience haven't gnawed their own arms off to relieve the boredom, the film then tries too hard to muddy the waters and thicken said plot but it's all to no avail. When Tramell visits the defeated Glass, incarcerated in an asylum at the end and hands him a copy of her new book, and puts forth the possibility that Glass is really bonkers and is responsible for the film's body count, it's so pointless I wanted to scream. Why so pointless? I refer you to my previous note to the creative team. Rather than thinking "oh that's neat I wonder if he really could be responsible" the whole audience is thinking "clearly it was you all along, Catherine, now shut up and roll the fucking credits already".

So what's left? The performances. David Thewlis clearly knew he was on to a loser from the off and so decided to ham it up mercilessly and in a Welsh accent to boot (it is he who delivers the line in the subject heading). Hugh Dancy had the right idea, appearing in 2 scenes before being killed off. Charlotte Rampling is of course glorious, a shining beacon of brilliance in a sea of mediocrity.

And then there's Sharon. Crazy Sharon. She can't act. At all. Not even a little bit. And she never has been able to. She has exactly one good performance to her name, in Total Recall of all things. Her delivery, as she beats up Arnie, of "That's for making me come to Mars. You know how much I hate this fucking planet." is a joy. But everything since then, first Basic Instinct included, has been shabby, to say the least. Her inexplicably lauded turn in Casino is painfully bad, hell even her cameo on Roseanne demonstrated how entirely lacking in comic timing she was. Here, her acting, if you can call it that, is stymied further by the fact she's had so much plastic surgery her face is all but immobile. There have been some absolutely corking reviews, one of which referred to her as having the face of a tightly made bed and another which said that it was like watching someone's overly made up mum doing an impression of Sharon Stone playing Catherine Tramell. Both are right, and if for no other reason, this film should be seen just to take in the true awfulness that is Sharon Stone's performance.

But that's not all that's awful about La Stone. As I mentioned in the above paragraph, she has discovered the delights of plastic surgery. To the max. Her face has been so lifted and Botoxed that ironically she doesn't look good for her age. And she is frighteningly, painfully thin. When she disrobes to reveal ribs you could play the glockenspiel on and horrible horrible horrible fake boobs, it is a truly unpleasant sight. In fact, every time I looked at her in the film, I couldn't shake the feeling that somewhere there was a crypt going unkept. As if to underline just how much surgery she's had and how bad it's made her look, several times throughout, Sharon stands next to Charlotte Rampling. 12 years older than Stone and seemingly untouched by plastic surgeons, Rampling looks absolutely glorious, radiating a natural beauty Stone couldn't match if she tried. And my God does it look like she tried. One more shot of Botox and the only role Stone will be getting is if they make Mannequin 3: On The Outs.

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