Sliver is a 1993 erotic thriller film based on the Ira Levin novel of the same name about the mysterious occurrences in a privately owned New York high-rise sliver building. Phillip Noyce directed the film, from a screenplay by Joe Eszterhas. Because of a major battle with the MPAA (which originally gave the film an NC-17 rating), the filmmakers were forced to make extensive reshoots before release. These reshoots actually necessitated changing the killer's identity. The film stars Sharon Stone, William Baldwin, and Tom Berenger. When he signed on to direct the film, Phillip Noyce remarked "I liked the script a lot. Or at least, I liked the idea of jumping on the Joe Eszterhas bandwagon."
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Phillip Noyce|
|Produced by||Robert Evans|
|Screenplay by||Joe Eszterhas|
|Music by||Howard Shore|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|May 21, 1993|
|Box office||$116.3 million|
Carly Norris (Sharon Stone), a book editor and divorcee, moves into the exclusive New York City sliver building "113". She meets other tenants including Zeke (William Baldwin), a video game designer, Jack (Tom Berenger), a novelist, Vida (Polly Walker) a fashion model who moonlights as a call girl and Gus (Keene Curtis), a professor of videography at New York University. They tell Carly that she bears a striking resemblance to the previous tenant of her apartment, Naomi Singer, who fell to her death from her balcony.
After running into Zeke numerous times Carly invites him to her housewarming party. Soon after they begin a sexual relationship. Meanwhile Jack starts stalking Carly and warning her about Zeke who he says is "sick". As Jack's behaviour becomes more erratic, Gus and Vida die under suspicious circumstances. Zeke reveals to Carly that he is the owner of 113, which he bought with the inheritance of his wealthy father. As owner of 113, Zeke installed a comprehensive video surveillance system throughout the building, allowing him to spy on all of the tenants of 113 from his own secret surveillance room. Through deduction and, eventually, one of Zeke's secret recordings Carly learns that Jack killed Naomi in a crime passionel. Jack was jealous of Zeke, who had sexual relations with Naomi and a number of other tenants in 113. Finally Jack attacks Carly in her own apartment and she shoots him dead.
Angry at Zeke for withholding evidence in Naomi's murder, and jealous of his liasons with the other tenants, Carly destroys Zeke's surveillance room and tells him to "get a life" before leaving.
In the film, the tall and narrow sliver building is located at 113 East 38th Street in Manhattan, placing it at 38th Street and Park Avenue. The actual building used in the film is known as Morgan Court, located at 211 Madison Avenue New York, one block west and two blocks south of the fictional address. The building has since become a condominium development. It was built in 1985 and has 32 floors. While the movie made use of the building's courtyard, the lobby was a Los Angeles film set.
In the film's original ending Zeke, instead of Jack, turns out to be the antagonist. He and Carly fly over a Hawaiian volcano when Zeke suddenly confesses his crimes. He then veers the aircraft into the volcano as the end credits roll and leaves the audience to decide whether they survive. The shooting of the final scene resulted in the crashing of the helicopter. After an investigation the pilot's certificate was temporarily suspended. The footage shot during the flight was destroyed.
Preview audiences disliked the idea of Carly turning immoral: in the helicopter scene she tells Zeke that the evidence against him is "somewhere safe", implying she is willing to cover up his crimes.
The film was heavily panned by critics and scores 12% on Rotten Tomatoes. The main criticisms were that the film provided little in the way of compelling thriller elements, that it diluted some of the plotlines of the novel, and that the actors were not on form. Many also singled out the editing and ending, calling the latter hasty and unconvincing. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of C- on an A+ to F scale.
According to a Showtime special about the film prior to the late-night premiere showing of the original NC-17 version, the debate over the NC-17 versus R-rating was linked solely to the display of male frontal nudity. However, when Paramount released the unrated version to video there was no male frontal nudity included, though the sex scenes were considerably more graphic.
The film debuted at No. 1 at the box office making $12.1 million in 2,093 theatres. By the second week the box office taking dropped to No. 6. Sliver eventually grossed $36.3 million domestically and $80 million outside the United States to a total of $116.3 million worldwide.
When originally released on VHS, the film was released in both an R-rated and an unrated version (the original NC-17 version). In March 2006, to coincide with the theatrical release of Basic Instinct 2, which starred Stone, Sliver was released on DVD. Only the unrated cut was made commercially available, but the R-rated cut was distributed for rental. There are no special features and although the film was presented theatrically in the 2.35 aspect ratio, the DVD features a matted, 2.10 aspect ratio transfer. The picture quality of the disc has been criticized by reviewers for what was felt to be an unusually high amount of dirt and scratches for a film that was 12 years old at the time of the DVD's release. In 2013, the film was released on Blu-ray Disc, using the same matted 2.10 aspect ratio version of the R-rated theatrical cut.
|Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Picture||Robert Evans||Nominated|
|Worst Director||Phillip Noyce||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Joe Eszterhas||Nominated|
|Worst Actor||William Baldwin||Nominated|
|Worst Actress||Sharon Stone||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actor||Tom Berenger||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Colleen Camp||Nominated|