After ratings board strife and last-minute reshoots, Sliver proves all flash and no sizzle – a thriller that simply changes gender on the Basic Instinct formula to ‘did he or didn’t he?’
Working from Ira Levin’s novel, writer Joe Eszterhas and director Phillip Noyce have crafted a cold, inaccessible yarn about murder and voyeurism that’s too leisurely about getting where it needs to go and doesn’t fully develop what should be its core: a just-divorced woman (Sharon Stone) drawn into a kinky, voyeuristic relationship with mysterious younger man (William Baldwin).
Carly (Stone) is a book editor who moves into a new building and catches the eye of both Zeke (Baldwin), a computer whiz, and Jack (Tom Berenger), a burned-out writer who comes on strong right away. Carly discovers Zeke owns the building, has each unit wired with intrusive video cameras and that there’s been a series of murders there – including a woman to whom she bears an unerring resemblance and who occupied her unit.
Blame it on the editing and reediting, but even the sex scenes aren’t all that steamy, and the movie suffers from some choppy moments and highrise-size lapses in logic.
For Stone fans, the actress shows a lot less here, both literally and figuratively, than she did in her menacing and alluring turn in Basic Instinct. Baldwin brings the requisite creepy-yet-alluring quality to the role, while Berenger sleepwalks through an underdeveloped character.