Sliver (Blu-ray)

September 13, 2013 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

With the unprecedented success of 1992’s Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone’s star was on the rise. Never mind the fact that she had a starring role in Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it took the steamy sex scenes with Michael Douglas (and Jeanne Tripplehorn) to launch Stone to superstardom. Stone’s next role was more of the same in Sliver; hey if it worked once it’ll work again right? Well…not really. Joe Eszterhaus who also wrote Basic Instict and Jagged Edge wrote the movie, so the talent was there but there was something in the execution that made Sliver somewhat forgettable. The tag line You like to watch…don’t you was certainly clever and the voyeuristic nature of the movie brings back memories of, say, Rear Window. Certainly this is no Rear Window, but you get the idea. Ironically the film was most noted for the song by UB40 Can’t Help Falling in Love (a supplement I’d have liked to see on the Blu-ray) and the sub par box office made Sliver something that Basic Instinct wasn’t – a hit.

Stone plays Carly Norris, a book editor who bears a striking resemblance to a tenant that’s killed in the opening scenes. Carly moves into a trendy apartment building with some rather eccentric neighbors: an arrogant author (Tom Berenger), a model (Polly Walker) and the young, attractive computer artist (William Baldwin) who also happens to own the building. Carly becomes romantically involved with Zeke (Baldwin) and the steamy sex scenes are what the movie is really all about. The other side is the voyeuristic side of Zeke. We see that he has installed cameras in every apartment in the whole building and has no problem invading his tenants’ privacy. To boot, Carly’s resemblance to the deceased tenant seems to evoke emotions of Vertigo. But as Carly learns more and more about Zeke, will it bring her closer to him or will she retreat into the arms of Jack (Berenger)?

Sliver certainly isn’t a bad movie, it’s a bit dated and it’s Blu-ray debut comes along with some other well-known catalog titles from Paramount now released by Warner (Jennifer 8, Snake Eyes, The Talented Mr. Ripley). The film is best known for the song by UB40 and the video surveillance (ironically enough, this is very commonplace in the 21st century). Sliver was a modest success when it was released back in 1993 and it did far better overseas than in the United States. Sliver isn’t exactly required viewing for any fan of Stone, I’d say her best roles are Basic Instinct and Casino but there are undoubtedly people out there that love this movie.

Video: How’s it look?

With the DVD, surprisingly released only a few years ago, there seemed to be a bit of confusion about the proper aspect ratio.  The IMDB listed its technical specs at 2.35:1, though the DVD was more along the lines of 2.10:1.  Nothing has really changed, nor did I expect it to, with this and I really wouldn’t waste too much time worrying about it.  With its debut on Blu-ray Sliver seems to retain that same aspect ratio, though the print does look a bit better than the DVD did. Now the down side is that this Blu-ray contains only the theatrical cut of the film whereas the DVD had the Unrated cut.  Perhaps the original cut made a better transfer?  At any (bit) rate, colors do seem a bit bolder than I remember and while not the shining example of perfection that most Blu-ray’s are, this is certainly improved.  Detail is bumped up, contrast seems to be stronger and more consistent and we can see the days of when Sharon Stone, William Baldwin and Tom Berenger were looking their best.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Again, we get somewhat of an odd mix here (pardon the pun).  The DVD contained a remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and while we do have a DTS HD Master Audio track here, it’s a 2.0 option.  Granted it doesn’t sound bad by any means, but it’s not the dynamic range that I was expecting from this film.  Vocals seem to be strong and consistent, the entire feel of the movie is still there, though just knowing that a 5.1 mix is out there is somewhat frustrating.  Then again, I would think the cost to convert this to a full DTS HD Master Audio track might be more trouble (and money) than it’s worth.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Still nothing. And we’ve lost the unrated cut of the film to boot (though early versions of the cover clearly sport the “Unrated” text beneath the title – go figure).

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