Basic instinct - so who's really the killer?

The film that caused a storm of controversy and left an indelible mark in the history of cinema is Basic Instinct. The genius director Paul Verhoeven created a masterpiece of a thriller, which became a symbol of the epoch and delighted the audience with its unexpected plot twists and thrilling intrigue. Let's find out what means of expression the director used to create such a tense and engaging film.
The film centres on San Francisco police detective Nick Karren (Douglas), who is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a former wealthy rock star. The murder may involve the beautiful, seductive and wealthy writer Catherine Tramell (Stone). During the investigation, Karren enters into a tumultuous and intense relationship with a mysterious woman who turns out to be very dangerous.
Basic Instinct became a masterpiece film thanks to the director's bold approach and a number of innovative techniques that melded together in a thrilling way.

Paul Verhoeven masterfully utilised the tense atmosphere created through strong dramatisation and subtle psychological suspense.

His ability to keep the viewer in a state of constant anticipation and unexpected turns of events were key elements to the success of this film.

In addition, the director's skill was evident in his masterful work with the actors, as well as in his use of the camera and editing, creating a stunning atmosphere and provoking discussions about the meaning of every detail of the story.

And these are the tropes and techniques of storytelling used in this film:
Femme Fatale - Femme Fatale: Catherine is one of the most iconic examples in modern cinema. It's not surprising, as the entire film is a 90s update of the film noir genre. She seduces men and women to achieve her goals, tempts Nick with her emotional vulnerability after Roxy's death, and commits all the murders. Another take on such a woman is Moll from the film Inception.
The film tells us that beauty is bad. Katherine Tramell uses her boasted beauty to manipulate, destroy, and kill anyone she wants without any consequences.

Trammell is a Scottish death shroud, but this is unintentional, as the character was named after baseball player Alan Trammell.
Look closely at the woman's body in the opening scene and at Katherine's body during the sex scenes with Nick. Certain physical characteristics will confirm that she is the killer.

One of the most memorable scenes in the film Basic Instinct is the famous police station interrogation scene where Katherine Trammel shows off her confidence and charisma.

She sits opposite the detective and persistently answers questions, emphasising her unapproachability and intelligence. This scene has become iconic thanks to the actress' performance, her expressiveness and the extraordinary intrigue that surrounds the character of Catherine Trammel.

This scene of Catherine's interrogation, when she is sarcastic about being "accused of smoking" and about how dumb you have to be to kill someone exactly as she described in her book, echoes Nick's interrogation scene, when he makes an identical remark while lighting a cigarette and then remarks on how dumb you have to be to kill an Internal Affairs detective after arguing with him in front of a police station full of witnesses.

Such a technique is called ironic echo.
Before the climax of the film, Nick walks into Katherine's house and picks up a manuscript page of Katherine's latest book, which she is currently typing. He takes a quick look at it without reading it. If you take a freeze frame, you can read the page. It's a perfect description of the murder that will happen in the next scene. The last shot hints that Katherine is either going to kill him, or wanted to kill him, but cancelled it because she enjoys having sex with him.
Shoutout to the film Vertigo. The San Francisco setting, the detective obsessed with his target, Katherine's outfits and hairstyle are very reminiscent of Kim Novak.

Betty and Veronica:
- Good girl Beth (whose name is accidentally, or perhaps intentionally, consonant with Betty) and Katherine.
- Nick (Betty) and Roxy (Veronica), and Catherine (Archie).
One possible interpretation is that Catherine Tramell is encouraging others to become murderers rather than (or in addition to) becoming one herself. At the end of the second film, Risky Addiction, she explicitly tells the protagonist that she manipulated him into committing all the murders, while in the first film, Beth may have become a murderer under Tramell's influence.

In the end, the film leaves so many questions. For example, the main one - who ended up committing each of the murders of these people - Johnny Boz, Hazel, Roxy, Beth, Nielsen, Noah Goldstein (college counsellor), Gus, Beth's husband?

Was there only one killer? Why was Nielsen investigating Beth? Did Katherine have real feelings for Roxy or Nick, or was it all a pretence as part of her game? Does Katherine kill Nick after the last scene? The sequel suggests that she does. Camille Paglia correctly said in her audio commentary on the film that it ended on a big question mark.
"Basic Instinct" remains not just a classic thriller, but a cinematic phenomenon that continues to thrill and inspire audiences. The boldness of the director's approach, outstanding acting and unpredictable plot created a masterpiece that remains in cinematic history as an example of intriguing and compelling cinema. "Basic Instinct" not only holds its relevance, but also continues to influence modern cinema, leaving an indelible mark in the hearts of viewers, provoking discussion and captivating new generations of film lovers.