13. Business is Business / Wat zien ik (1971)
A gritty drama following the tumultuous lives of two sex workers (Ronnie Bierman and Sylvia de Leur) in Amsterdam.
The battle to be Verhoeven’s most depressing movie is probably a tie between this and Katie Tippel, a strange sort of achievement considering this is technically a comedy.
His feature directorial debut has little to draw attention to itself in terms of style other than the odd unexpectedly camp aside, but it has some impact as a darkly funny, neorealist mood piece.
12. Basic Instinct (1992)
An unstable cop (Michael Douglas) falls for the primary suspect in a murder investigation (Sharon Stone); a bestselling crime author whose latest novel describes suspiciously similar events to the crime she is being accused of.
Everyone knows one scene from Basic Instinct, but it’s got a little more to offer than Sharon Stone flashing her interrogators. Catherine Trammel makes for a pretty fascinating, cold as ice antihero and Stone’s performance is a truly star-making turn.
The central mystery is pretty first-base but the atmosphere and thrills on offer sure make up for it.
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11. Spetters (1980)
Spetters follows the relationship between a gang of young dirt bike racers who look for an escape from their dreary lives and encounter tragedy in the process.
The pleasure of watching a young and sexy cast including Renée Soutendijk and Hans van Tongeren behaving badly is obvious, but you do wish Verhoeven had been able to go even further with the film’s anti-establishment attitude.