Sliver (1993)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Sliver</strong> (1993)

(In French, On Cable TV, November 2018) I’m old enough to remember Sliver as a Big Thing back in 1993—almost solely on the basis that this was Sharon Stone’s follow-up to Basic Instinct (1992) and people were wondering if she’d become the Queen of Erotic Thrillers (or something like it) based on how similar both projects sounded and given that both were coming from then-volcanic screenwriter Joe Eszterhas. Stone had quite a career afterwards, but Sliver itself sort of disappeared along the way. A critical disaster but a modest commercial success, it’s one of those very-1990s movies that show up on cable channels once in a while to remind contemporary viewers of the aesthetics of the time. They’re certainly not going to talk about plotting, considering that the simplistic story of the film has to do with a single woman moving into a high-rise with strange tenants and an unsolved murder mystery. After discovering that the owner of the building is a pervert who has installed dozens of cameras inside the building to spy on its residents, the story ends with the discovery of a different murderer only because preview audiences hated the original (and quite predictable) ending. Considering this paper-thin incoherent mystery and a Stone performance best characterized as adequate, aesthetics are the only thing left to discuss. (Not, not the sex scenes, which are comparatively tame.) The early 1990s were a weird time for movies, as the industry was beginning a switch to digital editing and post-production capabilities that allowed many more possibilities, many of them showy and awful. Much of Sliver is spent looking at TV screens, and lending that particular visual style to the film. It’s incredibly dated and not (yet) in a good way. As a result, Sliver isn’t much of a fun watch today, an experienced capped with a terrible ending that attempts to break through the fourth wall, only for the fourth wall to bloody the film’s nose.

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