Hitchcock tribute and favourite video rental of puberty-stricken boys everywhere, Basic Instinct is now on 4K Ultra HD. Ah, but should you be open to it, or cross…?
The story: Paul Verhoeven’s now classic noir-tinged erotic thriller delivers a whole lot of questions, a whole lot of intrigue, some bits that you wouldn’t want your kids watching and quite a few nods to Alfred Hitchcock’s works, perhaps most obviously Vertigo. The story revolves around the murder of a rockstar, and the efforts of San Francisco police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) to discern the identity of the killer. The obvious suspect is Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), but isn’t she a bit too obvious? Or is that her intention?
“You know I don’t like to wear any underwear, don’t you, Nick?”
The 4K disc: StudioCanal recently remastered Basic Instinct in 4K, with the process and result overseen – and approved – by director Verhoeven. This was for the film’s 30th anniversary, which technically takes place in March, 2022. The result is a rock solid transfer that delivers previously unseen detail, despite a level of consistent, natural film grain throughout. The Dolby Vision treatment does wonders, just look at those sunny San Franciscan beach scenes and outbreaks of neon lights for a couple of fine examples.
Audio comes to us via an uncompressed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, and it does what it has to do well. Most dialogue sits front and centre – as it should, but the soundtrack does get chances to shine elsewhere, particularly in a couple of club scenes (one doof, one jazz) where the surrounds are used to great effect. Otherwise, they’re utlised for ambience throughout, giving those within its bubble an engaging sound experience to match the intriguing onscreen content.
Ooh, extras! The 4K disc itself is bulging with them, kicking off with two audio commentaries – one with director Paul Verhoeven and cinematographer Jan de Bont, another with cultural critic Camille Paglia. The recent ~54-minute Basic Instinct: Sex, Death & Stone is a great watch, as is a ~17-minute look at Jerry Goldsmith’s score in the also new An Unending Story – Scoring Basic Instinct. There’s also an archival ~25-minute making-of, seven minutes of cast interviews, a storyboard comparison, screen tests and a new trailer. All of these extras are also spread over the two included standard Blu-ray discs of this three-disc set.
Release date: August 25, 2021
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Want help deciding what to add to your 4K collection next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.