Most Memorable Movies by Paul Verhoeven
Paul Verhoeven is an internationally famous (and often controversial and misunderstood)
Dutch film director, screenwriter and producer who has made several critically acclaimed
and commercially successful movies both in Europe and the USA. Over the years his
movies have enjoyed a cult following be it in the science fiction genre (Starship
Troopers, Robocop, Hollow Man) or war and espionage (Soldier of Orange, Flesh + Blood,
Black Book) or even drama and romance (Showgirls, Turkish Delight). Heavy and intense
violence with high blood content and raw and very graphic sexual material is a major
feature of most of his movies and so, not surprisingly an overwhelming majority of
his fans are males.
Here is a look at some of the most memorable movies from this master moviemaker:
Basic Instinct (1992)
Basic Instinct, starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, is probably the
most memorable movie of Paul Verhoeven's career and definitely his most famous non-sci-fi
When Johnny Boz, a famous rock star, is murdered while having sex, detective Nick
Curran (Michael Douglas) is called in to handle the case and his prime suspect is
bestselling novelist Catherine Tramell, (Sharon Stone) who was Boz's girlfriend at
the time. But, soon Detective Curran starts finding it impossible to resist the charms
of his vivacious prime suspect and is left with no choice but to play a dangerous
game of cat and mouse with Catherine. However, Curran soon realizes that Catherine
is not just a dumb blonde with a pretty face and the right curves-- she is a veritable
master of the art of deception. She is also writing her new novel whose plot has an
uncanny similarity with the relationship between Nick and Catherine. So, is she using
Nick as "research material" for her new book and is she as harmless as she looks?
These are the questions Detective Nick Curran must answer. But as the body count starts
to spiral out of control he realizes that he is rapidly running out of time.
Basic Instinctwas the 9th highest grossing film of the year and
received 2 Oscar nominations (Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score), but
the movie is probably best remembered for a highly controversial scene where Sharon
Stone allegedly unwittingly displayed her vulva to the camera which created quite
a stir at the time.
Showgirls, from director Paul Verhoeven, is the story of a wannabe dancer named
Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) who comes to Vegas armed with nothing but her good
looks and steely determination to make it big in Las Vegas. But she is firm on her
point that she is "not a whore". However, she soon finds out that in Vegas it is hard
to be a dancer without being a hooker and every good deal comes with a catch. But
luckily for her she has some real dancing talents and is picked up by star dancer
Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon) as her understudy at a hit show called Goddess.
However, things start to heat up when Nomi falls in love with Cristal's boyfriend
and the influential entertainment manager of Goddess, Zach Carey (Kyle MacLachlan)
and soon it becomes clear that Nomi and Cristal will never be able co-exist in Goddess.
And as far as Nomi is concerned, she isn't going down without a real fight.
Though critics have almost unanimously concurred that Showgirls is one of the
worst films ever released (it won 7 Raspberry Awards!) Verhoeven's characteristic
no-holds-barred approach to on-screen sex has earned this movie something of a cult
following and the R rated director's cut (running 3 minutes shorter than the original
NC-17 version) of Showgirls made it to MGM's list of top 20 all time best sellers
and earned over $100 million in the home video market. Showgirls serves as
a classic example of Verhoeven's incredible ability to depict graphic sex scenes in
an aesthetic and artistic manner.
(contains nudity - do not watch if that offends you)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Perhaps the most celebrated of Verhoeven's sci-fi efforts, Starship Troopers is
the story of a futuristic battle between humans and insects over the ownership of
It is considered to be one of the finest military sci-fi movies but, whereas on the
face of it Starship Troopers may look like yet another leave-your-brains-at-home slugfest,
in reality, it takes a subtle satirical look at America's jingoism and uber patriotic
political attitude which became very pronounced post 9/11. But what is most remarkable
about Starship Troopers is that Verhoeven went to great extents to fill the
movie with gruesome mindless violence and stunning visuals to intentionally hide its
satirical aspect, making it one of the most misunderstood movies in recent Hollywood
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Black Book (2006)
After 20 long years in the USA, Paul Verhoeven returned to The Netherlands and was
hailed as a "hero" after the resounding success of Black Book (Zwartboek)
which won 6 Golden Calves at the Netherlands Film Festival including Best Director.
When Rachel Stein's family is ruthlessly gunned down by the Nazis while trying to
affect an escape to safety, Rachel swears revenge and joins a Jewish anti-Nazi group
called the Resistance. She is assigned the task of seducing a high ranking Nazi officer,
Ludwig Muntze, and infiltrating the Nazis. But as each effort launched by the Resistance
is successfully thwarted by the Nazis it becomes very clear that the Resistance has
a spy in their midst. Or is Rachel, having fallen in love with Muntze, double crossing
them? Being hunted by both the Nazis and the Resistance, Rachel finds herself on a
knife's edge and the only person she can trust is Ludwig Muntze.
In my opinion, Black Book is a classic espionage thriller filled with twists
and turns and taut with suspense. A must watch for people who enjoy war thrillers.
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