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. The movie was written by Joe Eszterhaus who also wrote “Basic Instict” and “Jagged Edge”, 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” (something which wasn’t included on the DVD – we’ll get to that later) 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” is certainly not a bad movie, it’s a bit dated and surprisingly enough this is the first time it’s appeared on DVD. The film is best-known for the song by UB40, the video cameras and the catch phrase. “Sliver” was a modest success when it was released back in 1993 and it did far better overseas than in the United States. Stone’s attempt to re-create “Basic Instinct” didn’t quite work and this also leads me to ponder why this movie was released now…yep, “Basic Instinct 2” hits theaters in a few weeks with a 48 year old Sharon Stone reprising her role. We’ll see if she’s lost her touch or if “Basic Instinct” is what audiences have been clamoring for. “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. With zero features on the DVD, I’d say you will have to really love it to own it.
Video: How does it look?
Paramount has been very good at presenting films in their original aspect ratio, but with “Sliver” I’m at a bit of a loss. I did some research about the film’s aspect ratio but this appears to be shown in more of a flat look. I’d estimate the transfer to be around 2.00:1 as opposed to the “official” aspect ratio of 2.35:1. That said, the image looks pretty good. Fleshtones are warm and natural with a majority of the scenes being on the darker side. New York looks great in some of the Central Park scenes and I saw no evidence of artifacting. A few scenes contained a bit of debris on the transfer, but they’re few and far between and the softness of some scenes detracted from the score a bit as well. On the whole, it looks good if you can get past the OAR issue…
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is reminiscent of an “early 90’s” soundtrack. This was just before the dawn of true 5.1 soundtracks, so this has been up-converted to a 5.1 track. It sounds pretty good though this isn’t the best movie to showcase your sound system. I caught a few instances in which all five speakers chimed in (most notably when Carly is in the basement), but the dialogue takes center stage here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Commentary? Nope. The UB40 music video “Can’t Help Falling in Love”? In your dreams. A trailer? Sorry…Paramount has offered up a featureless disc (with the exception of this being the “Unrated” cut) here. Enjoy.