Basic instinct 2 (18)

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The Independent Culture

Only a comedy could make such flagrant symbolism out of the London "gherkin" building's phallic elevation. And only a comedy could make total jackasses of its two leads. But Basic Instinct 2 isn't a comedy, it's an "erotic thriller" that's meant to take us to some dark, dangerous places - you may recall glimpsing one of them when Sharon Stone crossed her legs in the original movie 14 years ago. Now, rather belatedly, she's back as psychopathic novelist Catherine Tramell, and what's more she's in London. Yikes! The picture is only two minutes old and she's being pleasured in her speeding car by a drugged-up sports star, played - in the movie's one concession to realism - by the ex-footballer and dogging fanatic Stan Collymore, who ends up drowned in the Thames.

David Morrissey, playing arguably the least professional and certainly the least perceptive psychiatrist in the business, is assigned the job of evaluating Stone as a potential killer, little realising that the lady in front of him likes nothing better than vamping men with her hot looks. "Too many answers, too many questions - nobody gets laid," is her considered view of psychotherapy. Instead of taking offence, or recommending that she be sectioned immediately, Morrissey engages her as his patient and secretly pores over the dirty bits in her novels. He lures a female colleague between his sheets - brown silk, I'm afraid - but fantasises the whole time about doing it to Stone, her book-jacket photograph handily situated on his bedside table. The director Michael Caton-Jones stirs up a mood of morbid unpleasantness, but, even as the body count climbs, one never feels the smallest shiver of suspense: we have no clue as to the character of the victims, and no doubt as to the identity of the murderer. By the end I was so dumbstruck by its awfulness I almost forgot to jeer.

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