Risk addiction: reading heteromasculinity and orgasm in Basic Instinct 2
A large body of critical work exists on the construction of femininity in films noir and erotic thrillers, yet little research examines similar constructions of heteromasculinity in these films. This dissertation deploys a poststructuralist theoretical lens to analyse how Basic Instinct 2’s textual mechanisms construct and inflect heterosexual femininity and masculinity, with a special focus on masculinity. I argue that the erotic thriller’s foregrounding of a sexually aggressive femme fatale and the seemingly uncontrollable sexual desire she excites in her male counterpart may function to elide unacknowledged queer desire in the masculine subject. While BI2 presents an apparently heteronormative couple in the form of Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) and Michael Glass (David Morrissey), I propose that their engagement in sadomasochistic activities in which Glass is the ‘bottom’ leaves space for the spectator to interpret their sexual practices in queer terms.
For the Degree of Master of Arts in Dramatic Art by Dissertation