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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Was Catherine Tramell the Actual Killer in Basic Instinct?

    I, like millions of other movie goers, enjoyed the film Basic Instinct that was released in 1992 starring Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas. There were many twists and turns throughout the film, and the general consensus was that Catherine Tramell, the character played by Stone, was the cold-blooded serial killer who murdered rock star Johnny Boz with an ice pick. Needless to say, everyone in the theater believed that San Francisco detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) would eventually be on the receiving end of that ice pick. But what if Catherine Tramell wasn’t the actual killer like everyone thought? I understand that there were two different sets of writers and directors for both films, and both films were released fourteen years apart. However, Michael Caton-Jones, the director of the sequel, had an interesting interpretation of Catherine Trammel’s character despite the strong sexual content, but the film only received a star and a half and didn’t get the credit that it deserved in my opinion.

    Fast forward to 2006 when Basic Instinct 2 was released. Catherine Tramell was never charged with the murders of Johnny Boz, Lieutenant Nilsen, or Nick’s partner, Gus―and it was presumed that Nick’s psychologist, Beth Garner, did all of the murders. Catherine left the States and settled in London, and more bodies started piling up after her arrival. The opening scene of the movie showed Catherine and her lover fondling each other while she’s driving her sports car a hundred miles an hour on the street. Long story short, she crashes into the River Thames, and her boyfriend drowns while she survives. She’s then charged with reckless homicide because she had drugs in her system and has to see a psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass for an evaluation.

Golden Gate Bridge

    Now, I’m not going to get into the meat of the plot because it kept viewers guessing just like the first film did. Yet, the crux of the entire story comes at the end of the movie. Glass is charged with all of the murders and is then placed in a psychiatric hospital. Catherine comes to visit Glass while he’s sitting in a wheelchair in a drug-induced state and gives him a copy of her new crime novel The Analyst before giving the viewers a synopsis of him committing all of the murders. What’s interesting is that Catherine says it’s always the psychiatrist who does the killing and not the novelist or cop when giving Glass an overview of her book. Could she had been indirectly talking about the murders committed in San Francisco as well? So, my next question is: did Beth really kill Gus and Lieutenant Nilsen? Catherine had admitted to killing Johnny Boz to Dr. Glass earlier in the movie, saying that she hated him and knew she could get away with it. She also said that she didn’t kill Nick, but it wasn’t clear if she was telling the truth or not.

    I know that I’m grasping at straws here, but director Michael Caton-Jones truly does lend a unique perspective to the sequel of Basic Instinct. I think the only mistake made here was waiting fourteen years to do a follow-up movie, and I truly believe that critics would’ve been a little less harsh if the sequel was shot within the five years of the first film.

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