Sliver review by Matt Fuerst


Joe Eszterhas has had a bit of a tough go in terms of getting work lately in Hollywood. Many would say that reputation is well deserved after a string of films with a few similar themes... Sharon Stone, Cheap Sex and/or inane dialogue. Mix those up and you've got at least two of these three elements in the four big Eszterhas works of the 90's, Basic Instinct (1992), Sliver (1993), Showgirls (1995), and Jade (1995).

Sliver is directed by Philip Noyce who continues to add some pretty big flicks to his directoral resume. Sliver is a pretty by-the-numbers effort, in spite of some flashy attempts to interject life into the story. Based on a (as I understand it) fairly popular Ira Levin book, Sliver follows a brief slice of time in the life of Carly Norris (Sharon Stone). Just coming out of a bad marriage, Carly moves uptown to a high rise where an opening come about through a less than legitimate means. The former tenant, who looks quite a bit like Carly decided to take a swannie off the balcony which severely limited her ability to pay the rent on time. We learn pretty quickly in the story that someone is playing voyeur in the apartment complex, as we see ominous flashes of someone watching activities in the building through a monitor. In an attempt to make the viewer actively think for a moment, the story introduces an old guffer that teaches a class on the "Morality of the Lens" or some such mumbo jumbo (yeah, I took some classes like that, I am a Telecommunications Major... coughcoughcoughComputer Science Dropoutcough cough...). Don't worry, just when we're on the verge of flipping this baddie off screaming "I want to see some Sharon Stone beaver, and I want it now! Before the pizza guy gets here 'cause he'll never leave if he sees it!" the old guffer is bumped off and you can breath a sign of relief and prepare the wet naps. The two main male leads are Jack Lansford (Tom Berenger) and Zeke Hawkins (love the name, played by William "skinnier both in paycheck and stature than Alec" Baldwin). Basically the remainder of the story involves a few more people getting knocked off (if they get more than 3 minutes of screen time and their names aren't on the cover of the video box, you can bet they are going to get the ax) and us wondering which dude is doing the killing.

Did I mention the dialogue? Oh yes, I did. Well, most of it is stuff that you would write into your textbooks in like 8th grade. You know, at the beginning of the year you always get some hand-me-down piece of crap textbook that the school has owned for like 15 years. So you would turn to some random page in the middle of the book and write down some naughty words along with something like "Fuersty was here!" just to leave your mark. You know what I am talking about don't deny it. Yeah anyways, back to Sliver. There are some real jewels in here. All the talk about sex amongst the participants is pretty much stuff that you would say aloud and then giggle at. Carly's secretary asks her if her new boyfriend Zeke has a "lead pencil" in his pants. I have to admit I didn't have a pencil to take notes but there are some real, as my mom used to call 'em, hum-dingers located within.

Obviously with the voyeur peeking in on everyone's lives, and the voyeur mysteriously giving Carly a telescope to peek into surrounding neighbors windows, the theme of Voyeurism manages to pound into your head without any hesitation. But in the end, so what. It's not like this is War and Peace, no real big events occur that would make you stop and think about how much privacy you give up in your life (unlike reading jackasscritics, where you stop and think about adding it to your banned list every time you visit). Another failed attempt.

This baddie was released to the theatres as an R rated movie after a lot of back and forth between the MPAA. And, as the pizza boy said best "There's a lot of man ass present." Carly (Stone) walks around naked a lot and gets taken advantage of my the Zekester. It's all good and whatnot since at the time Sharon Stone was still pretty hot and she didn't open her mouth all the time and let the crap spew out like she does now. So that's pretty cool. Few R rated movies I've seen have as much of this kind action if you still aren't old enough to rent from the room with the swinging door.

The ending feels tacked on, but only because it was. Originally the ending had Carly marrying the killer and flying in a helicopter into a volcano in Hawaii. Now if you actually spend the time to watch this one, you will notice that doesn't really fit in with anything else going on the movie, especially considering 100% of the time is spent in New York City, inside apartments and high rise office buildings. (There are a few hints about this, but I discount those because this is might site and I can do stuff like that.) Quite the contrast. After that ending went over like a fart in church, our boy Eszterhas rewrote 4 endings and Noyce-Woycey filmed two. They went back and also filmed some footage to add into the main body of the movie to support whichever endings the audience liked best (most specifically, as I understand, they added a scene where a character pays off another character on a street corner. There, keepin' that vague in case anyone actually reads my review and then watches this flick.) It absolutely feels like either of the fellas (or even a third party) could have popped up at the end and admitted to being the killer, which, in most cases, doesn't lead to a strong cohesive feel to the movie as a whole. For my review I watched the Laserdisc, which didn't have any extras (hell it didn't even have chapter breaks). For those Laserdisc fans out there, the presentation was pretty good, and I understand that there are both Widescreen and Fullscreen versions available. I have the widescreen myself (but of course). Sliver isn't available on DVD yet, so the other endings 2 endings, the one with the volcano and the other killer version, while filmed, aren't currently available to the public. I imagine an inevitable DVD release (maybe an Eszterhas boxed set!) will probably release them onto the public, whose overall reaction will be mass indifference (appropriately so).

Overall, you could waste 90 minutes or so in far worse ways. The T&A definitely help things out so if you come across an edited version, like on free TV, I would recommend avoiding it. But as far as mindless entertainment goes, worse has been made.

5 out of 10 Jackasses
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