Back in 1992, the softcore S&M murder mystery Basic
Instinct turned into an unexpected box office bonanza. Hollywood being
Hollywood, this situation spurred a
rash of Basic Instinct clones and copycat films almost immediately. Very soon after
it became apparent that Basic Instinct would make a bunch of moolah, somebody
thought it would be a great idea to take an established erotic
(Madonna) and feature her as the kinky lead in an erotically charged
S&M murder mystery, Body of Evidence.
It's hard to imagine now, but someone also thought
it was a good idea to have Madonna be the murder weapon as well as the
murderess. She is on trial for marrying a rich old guy with a bad
heart, getting him to change his will, then turning him on day and
night until she fucked him to death. Huh? Is that a crime? Her lawyer
said to the D.A., in dead imitation of Basic Instinct, "it's not a
crime to be a great lay", whereupon the D.A. rejoined, "if it were,
I'd have to indict myself". Actually, that line was sorta funny, but
it was also the highlight of the script, if that tells you anything.
Madonna reads the reviews.
As if the film's concept weren't bad enough, the
execution is dreadful:
- As a thriller, it fails miserably. Most of the
non-sex scenes take place in a courtroom, and they include the usual
movie trial clichés designed to make us vacillate between "she did
it" and "she didn't", with complete disregard for the
actual rules of courtroom procedure. The acting is flat and
passionless, as if the entire cast were impersonating the Stepford
Wives. Or maybe they were all trying to impersonate Madonna, in
order to make her line readings seem normal.
- It is better as an erotic film, but still just OK. There is a
lot of sex, but the sex scenes are much too dark, and completely
joyless. The sex acts are also completely unimaginative except for
one inspired moment when Madonna hangs from the ceiling in a parking
garage while Dafoe performs cunnilingus on her. Although the film's
publicists touted the sex scenes as daring, the actual action was no
more daring than somebody dripping candle wax on somebody else. The
very long woman-on-top sex scene between Madonna and Dafoe was
barely visible in flickering candlelight. Even David Fincher was
probably thinking "note to self: buy some lights" during that scene.
DVD info from Amazon.
widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1.
r-rated and unrated version on
the same DVD
very brief making-of documentary
Although I didn't really like the sex scenes, there are some positives to the film as a work of
- Madonna's body was firm and sexy, her breasts
- Madonna was probably the most famous woman in the
world at the time, and many people found her to be very beautiful.
- There is full-frontal nudity.
- There is a scene of either real cunnilingus or a
overview in yellow:
To give you an idea of just how poorly made this film was, I would like
to run through the last few minutes. Madonna is on the stand, with a
presiding judge who is a prude and has ruled over the proceedings with a
heavy hand. The DA begins arguing with Madonna, and she argues back, but
nobody complains. Then Madonna states that she left her previous rich
boyfriend with heart trouble because she caught him in bed with a man.
The DA counters with, sure, you can say anything you want, because he is
not here to defend himself. She says, "Yes, he is." Pan to gay guy in
the back of the courtroom, who testifies from the gallery by nodding his
head up and down. I am sure this judge would have permitted this. Right.
When the jury comes back in, and the foreman reads the verdict, which he
has filed out and signed a few minutes before, he says, "We find the
defendant," pauses, opens and reads the verdict form, then continues,
"not guilty." Did he forget in 10 minutes which way they had voted?
Madonna then whispers in her attorney's ear, "Thanks. You almost
convinced me." What could she possibly have had to gain by admitting her
guilt to him? Then, it gets even worse. Following the old-fashioned Hays
Code rule that criminals always have to be punished, Madonna, her
attorney, and the doctor who helped her commit the murder are in a
confrontation in her apartment. Madonna and the doctor struggle with her
gun, it goes off, and she falls to the floor. The white blouse she is
wearing is still completely white. The attorney struggles with the
doctor, knocking him down a flight of stairs, then notices that Madonna
has been shot in the neck. I am sorry, but a gun shot to the neck from 3
or 4 inches away would have put at least one drop of blood on that white
blouse. And come to think of it, when did they decide to switch to
action film from courtroom drama/erotic thriller for the exciting
- with their dollars: made for $30 million
dollars, it grossed $13 million in the USA.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description,
Scoop says, "it
is a C as a piece of softcore erotica, E as a thriller. Either way, it isn't
very good". Tuna says, "As
a thriller, this is terrible. Even as an erotic thriller, most
of the nude scenes were dark, and sometimes shot with strangle
lighting and through curtains. I am a fan of courtroom dramas,
and this could have interested me were the courtroom
developments not nearly as dramatic. For me, this is a D- at