A film appreciation and curation project dedicated to championing outstanding cinema

Showgirls

Directed by

Paul Verhoeven
1995
131 mins

The reaction to this week’s release of Andrew Dominik’s fictionalized Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde has been one of vitriol and disgust from both audiences and critics, a backlash reminiscent of the negativity towards one of Hollywood’s most notorious NC-17 movies, Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls. 

 

Verhoeven’s Las Vegas set erotic thriller was dismissed as lurid trash and famously killed the career of its lead Elizabeth Berkley, who swapped her wholesome Saved by the Bell role to play the often nude, star-bound stripper Nomi who is willing to do whatever it takes to work her way into the upper echelons of Showbiz. 

 

Criticized for being exploitative and misogynistic, Showgirls fits right into the Verhoeven canon alongside some of his most celebrated Hollywood work like Starship Troopers and Robocop, swapping out the gratuitous violence for graphic sex while maintaining the over-the-top melodrama and satirization of American excess.