“Showgirls” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

8 December, 2017

Year of Release: 1995
Paul Verhoeven
Joe Eszterhas
Director of Photography: 
Jost Vacano
Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon

Synopsis: A high-spirited dancer from a broken home moves to Vegas with the hopes of becoming a superstar showgirl, working as a stripper and fashioning an intense rivalry with a professional who’s reached the peak of the showbiz ladder.

Showgirls Review:

Catty and competitive, “Showgirls” sees misunderstood parody from the master of a salacious kind of satire; an unashamedly naked film yet one critical of the Vegas lifecycle. Sexed up and violated from every angle yet always judgemental of the industry’s fatal flaws in a hush-hush era, the movie is pre-scandal but aware of the infringement and exploitation that comes with the performance industry, capturing a very real and very corrupt code of conduct which sees contracts drawn less ambiguously for ten-a-penny strippers than for starlets plastered on giant billboards.

Dishonest about boundaries and testing its performers in ways it so blatantly criticises, “Showgirls” is both critical and complicit in depicting a particular breed of bare-all entertainment, testing of the limits of everyday movie stars with rigorous dance routines and full front nudity while rendering their performances so absurd that the creators veer away from the shadiness of genuine exploitation. Miraculously jumping to life like no other film on earth, “Showgirls” is an absurdist masterpiece, producing choreography that’s as mesmerising today as it was in the mid-90s and perfectly capturing the essence of the cabaret lifestyle through iconic dance routines and camp scripting.

An 80s film born into the wrong era with a “Flashdance” style that audiences outgrew before they were ready to praise its genius, Paul Verhoeven couldn’t care less that his movie has more bare breasts than brain cells and his dedication to explicit glamour only works in the film’s favour as Joe Eszterhas’ erotic screenplay springs into existence like the “Goodfellas” of dance movies. “All About Eve” without long-sightedness or traditional methods of sophistication, “Showgirls” adorns cinema with an expressiveness still unparalleled by the best worst movies of today, both crazy and unmissable as the “Road House” of high-stakes back-stabbing ladder-climbing performance dramas.

Like what you see? Read our poetry review of “Showgirls” in the free e-book below.