Basic Instinct: The Erotic Space Between Catherine and Nick

By now I know more about the meaning of the movie Basic Instinct, than the people that created it.

Originally, just like most people, I thought there was some kind of hidden secret. A whodunit Easter egg or clue we all missed, that would explain the entire movie.
Now this blog post is not at all about if Catherine Tramell, the female protagonist (some would argue the antagonist) is the murderer or not, but maybe it does help to know that I have concluded that she is not.
Which allows me to watch this movie entirely as a love story between the writer and 103 million rich Catherine Tramell, and the San Francisco detective Nick Curran, who has a shady past where he went rogue doing undercover work.

She has been studying Nick to model the main character for a new book she is writing.
The book is called “Shooter”, after Nick’s nickname because he shot innocent bystanders on a drug bust.

Presumably when he was on coke.
This was the time Nick was pulled out of his undercover work, and had to face charges, making headline news.
This was also the time when he must have caught the attention of Catherine.

If we look at Basic Instinct as a love story between a writer who is falling in love with her main character, and a troubled detective who has even lost his wife to suicide in the wake of the charges but whose spirit is unbroken.
Then this story becomes even more compelling than if you focus on the brutal murders taking place.


You see that the brutal murders serve as the backdrop, it is the stage where Catherine and Nick find each other.
And because they are the only two people who are not intimidated or scared by the murders taking place, they immediately recognize each other as kindred spirits.
They are both familiar with death, and have both been in a dance with danger their entire lives.
But there is something else;
They both live in their own space.

They live in the world between worlds.

Last week when I started this blog, I did it because I realized I was more fascinated with the (inner)  world where the art is created;
Than with the craft of the fine arts themselves.
It also explains my preference for immaterial art in the form of performance art of Marina Abramovic as well as the music and concerts from Bon Jovi.
A remarkable difference between Marina and Jon Bon Jovi is however, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, that Marina seems to carry her world between world, her space as an artist, with her all the time.
Just like Madonna, or Obama.
They’re always “On”.
Whereas Jon Bon Jovi does not do that, and is often very laidback and usually more concerned with his philanthropy projects than with being in his artistic space on a day to day basis.
For him the artistic space is related to actively performing on stage, to writing music, to singing;
But it’s not where he lives.

But Catherine Tramell from the movie Basic Instinct lives in her artistic space.
She creates her own life with the dynamics, and topics she’s interested in. She actively scouts interesting people, she can write about. Exactly like she did with Nick.
“How’s your book coming around?” Nick asks at some point.
“It’s practically writing itself,” she answers, referring to all the things that are happening in Nick’s life.
She only has to write it down.

And Nick too, lives in his own space. His is a space of danger and adventure.  Catherine deliberately creates her own space, the stage for her books; But Nick is more someone who is drawn to worlds that already exist, and then is a master player in them.

He is aware of the space, the world between worlds, which gives him an advantage.
Most people take life very seriously, and do not see that they are free to choose their own part. 
To choose who they want to be.
To switch or uplevel their character.
Nick does.

But Catherine?
She’s the one who first conducts the play, who orchestrates its elements, and then waits for her characters to start playing.
Most play without knowing it, think what they see in her is reality.

Unlike all of Catherine’s friends, unlike her former partners and unlike the retired rock n roll star named “Johnny” and his surname starts with a B (I’m not making this up!);
Nick plays deliberately.

Catherine and Nick immediately recognize each other;
They both live in the world between worlds.
In the world behind our own world.

And when everybody else is worrying about murders taking place, and subpoenas, and warrants, and drama and mayhem;
All they see is each other.

Those of us who visit the world between worlds, to create their art or create their lives, know you are almost always alone there.
Marina meets others there when we are part of her exhibition.
Jon meets us there when he is on stage, and we are in the audience.

But Nick and Catherine, were eye to eye, privately.
They really saw only each other. There was a whole layer of reality between them, that others could not enter.

The first time I consciously started toying with the idea of what I have now called the world between worlds, was when I heard Esther Perel’s talks on creating erotic space between long-term couples.
She defines it as a space of possibilities and adventure.

But what I have experienced is that some people carry this space in themselves. And they create their art, or their relationships, from there. You enter their play, just like you see their rock show, or visit their exhibition.
I believe this is a factor in being sexually attractive (or active) that I have not heard about before;
If you live or visit this other world, artistic space, erotic space. If you are a creator of worlds just like Catherine.
Or if you are an active player in that space, like Nick.
But dividing the roles this strict is not how it is;
They’re both players.
And they’re also both creators of this world, with their consciousness.

In the world between worlds there is no difference between the creator and the created.
Between the player and the played.
It is a place where everything is possible, but the price for being there is that you need to give up your idea of right and wrong, and of reality.

Like wanting to know who did it in Basic Instinct.

Suzanne L. Beenackers

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