Owen Gleiberman
June 11, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

There is one genuinely provocative sequence: Manhattan book editor Carly Norris (Sharon Stone) enters a secret back room in the apartment of the stud (William Baldwin) she has been dating and discovers a wall of gleaming black-and-white surveillance monitors. For a few minutes, she is seduced into playing video voyeur; what she sees on those screens is so much more spontaneous and alive than anything else in Sliver that we’re grateful for the intrusion of disreputable ”reality,” anything to relieve the by-now moribund gamesmanship of the contemporary sex-thriller genre. Scene for scene, the movie isn’t incompetent — Phillip Noyce has directed it with smooth, gliding craftsmanship — yet it feels anonymous and benumbed. Although Stone holds the audience with her edgy control, there’s something naggingly remote about her.

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