Sliver (1993)

reviewed by
Jon Ridge


                                 SLIVER
                       A film review by Jon Ridge
                        Copyright 1993 Jon Ridge
CAST:  Sharon Stone, William Baldwin, Tom Berenger
DIRECTOR:  Philip Noyce
PRODUCER:  Robert Evans
SCREENPLAY:  Joe Eszterhas
RUNNING TIME:  1:51
RELEASE:  May 21, 1993

Before BASIC INSTINCT, did you even know her name? For a long while in Hollywood, a name had been floating around that no one could actually place a name with. With such titles as STARDUST MEMORIES, IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES, and the ALAN QUARTERMAIN movies to her name, who could be blamed for not taking recognition. But then, a funny thing happened: A director named Paul Verhoeven saw potential in this sensual blond beauty, and took a chance on her. BASIC INSTINCT was a smash success and, although it displayed no "raw" talent in the acting department for her, the film acted as a huge boost and stepping stone in her very unsure career in Hollywood. Of course, I am speaking of none other than Sharon Stone. Her interrogation scene in INSTINCT has become one of the most infamous images in the history of cinema. It also said that there was, indeed (finally), an actress in the business who was willing to take risks.

Stone's second opportunity to prove herself as a serious actress has also (like BASIC INSTINCT) turned out to be very controversial work for this budding talent. But is the movie *good*? The answer is a resounding ... well, not really.

Stone stars as Carly Norris, a recently divorced book editor who moves into a sliver high-rise in Manhattan. There she meets three different men, one of whom dies in the shower soon after the film begins. The other two--author, and tenant respectively--are played by Tom Berenger and William Baldwin. Both men lust after Carly, Jack Landsford (Berenger) a bit more than he should. So, Carly chooses the younger and more attractive Zeke Hawkins (Baldwin), leading the two of them to several erotic encounters which had to be trimmed in order to avoid an NC-17. Jack's jealous, instantly accusing Zeke of a number of murders that have occurred in the building over the past couple years. *no*, Zeke says--It was Jack. So begins the blame game. Ahh ... what's a girl to believe?

In a way, this film seems like the perfect murder-mystery- sex thriller (it has just the right feel to it that any sort of thriller needs). A good opening track by Enigma sufficiently sets the correct mood for this techno-thriller, but the film loses steam as it nears the halfway mark. Stone is marginally better here than she was in BASIC INSTINCT, but just about the time the film reaches its midpoint, Stone begins to look tired, unhappy, confused as to why she got involved with this project in the first place. Too many reshoots, too much controversy over quarreling between the leads off-screen, and Tom Berenger overacting like never before don't help save this film when it needs saving the most.

     SLIVER is a tawdry disappointment.

CRITICAL RATING: ** Rated R, for Violence, Profanity, Nudity, Sex

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