The harsh, politically incorrect truth about Basic Instinct is that it's a tantalizing, suspensefully correct thriller.
Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel, 2013-03-25
Sharon Stone, in her first major-league role, comes on like a postfeminist Grace Kelly. She turns her haughty, slightly blank, cheerleader sexiness into something vampish and ominous -- an all-American beauty mask.
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, 2011-09-07
Despite (or maybe because of) his obligatory nods to Hitchcock, this is slick and entertaining enough to work as thriller porn, even with two contradictory denouements to its mystery.
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, 2008-02-08
This erotically charged thriller about the search for an ice-pick murderer in San Francisco rivets attention through its sleek style, attractive cast doing and thinking kinky things, and story, which is as weirdly implausible as it is intensely visceral.
Variety Staff, Variety, 2008-02-08
Douglas and Stone are superb, and George Dzundza (as sidekick Gus) delivers another classic hard-boiled cameo.
Stephen Garrett, Time Out, 2006-01-26
Basic Instinct transfers Mr. Verhoeven's flair for action-oriented material to the realm of Hitchcockian intrigue, and the results are viscerally effective even when they don't make sense.
Janet Maslin, New York Times, 2003-05-20
Verhoeven's cinematic wet dream delivers the goods, especially when Sharon Stone struts on with enough come-on carnality to singe the screen.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, 2001-05-12
Verhoeven does not explore the dark side, but merely exploits it, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune, 2013-03-25
[The film has] a smug faith in the ability of its own speed, smartness and luxe to wow the yokels.
Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine, 2013-03-25
Slick, clever and entertainingly overheated while you're watching it, Basic Instinct starts to evaporate the second you leave the theater.
John Hartl, Seattle Times, 2013-03-25
Basic Instinct is a reminder of the difference between exhilaration and exhaustion, between tension and hysteria, between eroticism and exhibitionism. The line may be fine, but it is real enough to separate the great thrillers from the also-rans.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 2013-03-25
Call me a prude, but it's not sexy watching an erotic thriller in which every time a couple does it, one of them gets it with an ice pick. I don't care how many firmly toned tummies and tushes are bared.
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2013-03-25
A vicious, grindingly manipulative urban mystery that uses a thick atmosphere of S&M kinkiness to distract the audience from the story's thinness and inanity.
Terrence Rafferty, New Yorker, 2013-03-25
The film's problems begin with its story, which is constructed with relentless manipulation in mind. It never plays fair with the audience.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2008-06-10
A predictable, surprisingly uninvolving affair.
Desson Thomson, Washington Post, 2000-01-01
These actors seem driven less by real emotions than Eveready bunny batteries.
Rita Kempley, Washington Post, 2000-01-01
The film is like a crossword puzzle. It keeps your interest until you solve it. Then it's just a worthless scrap with the spaces filled in.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 2000-01-01