”Where other movies of a similar vintage have slid into obscurity, we’re still talking about it 25 years later”
– Steve Rose / The Guardian
”Truly one of the only ‘90s films that treats pop culture as a vibrant field of social economics and cerebral pursuit, and not merely tomorrow’s nostalgia-masturbation fodder”
– Eric Henderson & Ed Gonzalez / Slant Magazine
”It’s impossible to imagine at this point in its extensive exhibition journey, but, in 1995, Showgirls was a very big deal and an extremely serious motion picture. Coming off the astonishing success of their smoldering thriller Basic Instinct, director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas paired up again to investigate that abyssal trench of sin: Las Vegas. Presented with a hefty budget, an eye-catching cast, and a no-questions-asked use of the NC-17 rating by a major studio, Showgirls was ready to break new ground in adult-minded cinema, making smut a major moviegoing event.
But we all know how that turned out.
A stranger in a strange land, Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) has come to Las Vegas to achieve worldwide fame as a dancer. After a series of humiliations and obstructions, Nomi finds herself stuck at seedy strip club, forced to tease the tourists for nickels. Enter Crystal Connors (Gina Gershon), the star of “Goddess” (the biggest revue in town), who catches a glimpse of the spastic pole dancer in action, requesting entertainment director Zach (Kyle MacLachlan) bring her onboard the big show. Rising in the ranks through raw talent and some rather devious means, Nomi is soon the toast of the town, alienating those who supported her at the very beginning, while engaging in a heated bout of competition with Crystal, who recognizes Nomi’s killer instinct while everyone else is distracted by her animalistic sex appeal. —
Take away the coke-dusted dialogue, the All About Eve overtones, and the parade of flesh, and there’s one spectacularly photographed film to enjoy. Cinematographer Jost Vacano pushes the Technicolor candyland of Las Vegas, filling the frame with golden bodies and gorgeous lighting, fluidly moving around the sets and locations to covey the mania of Nomi’s rise to fame.” – Brian Orndorf / DVD Talk