Shattered Glass (USA; 95 min.)


directed by: Billy Ray
starring: Hayden Christensen; Peter Saarsgard; Chloë Sevigny
Shattered Glass
 

Chris says: "Here's a film that should join ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN or ABSENCE OF MALICE as required viewing for all Journalism students. Shattered Glass recreates the incredible story of Stephen Glass, the young New Republic reporter whom in 1998 was discovered to have fabricated most of his articles. Shrewdly structured like an edge-of-your-seat thriller, the film is exhausting but insightful; it's certainly the most realistic portrayal of journalists I've seen in years, and an impressive film for first time director Billy Ray.

Almost more shocking than Glass' story is that STAR WARS II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES drone Hayden Christensen is actually quite good as Glass. He's appropriately both smarmy and believably vulnerable, and his character gets more interesting as the seams start to show. The key performance here, however, comes from Peter Sarsgaard as Glass' editor, Chuck Lane. Nearly unrecognizable to anyone who only knows him from BOYS DON'T CRY, he excels at what is indisputably the film's trickiest role, as he continues to keep calm for an ungodly period of time before slowly building to a masterfully dignified eruption as it dawns on him how he's been duped.

Chloe Sevingy, Hank Azaria, and Steve Zahn are also fun to watch in supporting roles, and it was refreshing to see an entertaining thriller that didn't pander to its audience and remained thrilling even if you knew the outcome. It's a film that's both intrigued and disgusted by Glass' shenanigans, but it's always fair and clearly motivated by the most intricate facets of human behavior and their consequences rather than just a sensational scandal." 4 cats

 
Diane says: "I had problems with the framing device and the perspective in this movie about the journalist who made up his stories. It seemed to be presenting the story from Glass' point of view (prologue, epilogue, first half of film), but switched to colleagues' as the crises began to develop. Actually, it reminded me of A BEAUTIFUL MIND, and I guess that's the case in that film, which leads me to....

"I couldn't tell what the director's understanding, or the actuality, was: was Glass a pathological liar? mentally ill? merely a manipulator? The movie doesn't show us anything of him outside the office. Something more of his background would have been helpful.

"Nevertheless, the acting was very good, and the unfolding of Glass' downfall was painful and full of tension. I am so glad that Stephen Glass is not a friend of mine." 3 cats

 
Marilyn says: "I just saw this tonight and as usual, I agree with Diane (well, not always, there was THE PIANO.....) but I was very caught up in the downfall and how
painful it was. I also wanted someone to look at him and call him a liar....clearly this was not the first time and we were not given any info about his past life personally or professionally that would have given clues to this behavior... I vote for pathological liar...bordering on psycho which was chillingly portrayed in the scene where he asks the editor to take him to the airport...very good acting by Christensen...." 4 cats
 
Michael says: "SHATTERED GLASS is an impressive directorial debut from screenwriter Billy Ray. It's nice to see a screenwriter, who knows the importance of a strong story, who also has a good visual knack, and a way with the actors. SHATTERED GLASS is based on the true story of "New Republic" journalist, Stephen Glass, who fabricated several stories for the publication before being caught in a web of lies. I was amazed at how tense and uncomfortable it was to watch a "thriller" about writing. It's too bad that I knew about Stephen Glass before seeing this movie. Knowing his guilt ahead of time made it difficult to see his character as anything but a disturbed, lying weasel. But the story is presented very well, with strong characters, a great dramatic arc, and slick, glossy visuals, much like a magazine (although ironically, not like the 'New Republic.')

"Actors were uniformly strong... (could be a good candidate for Best Cast.) I didn't see the Star Wars debacle, so this is my first exposure to Hayden Christensen, and he adequately presented the annoyingly, self-effacing Galss in a way that made you want to throttle him. Peter Sarsgard is getting a lot of raves for his portrayal of Glass' editor, Chuck Lane. Ironically, the raves always mention his BOYS DON'T CRY turn, but neglect to mention is starring role in THE CENTER OF THE WORLD. Could they be trying to forget that one? I'm not sure why, as I found it to be a strong film. Regardless, he's terrific here. The moral center of the film, and a real hero. Supporting cast is filled with strong performances from such actors as Hank Azaria, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Zahn, and Rosario Dawson. I loved seeing Melanie Lynskey as well, who I have enjoyed since her breakout performance in HEAVENLY CREATURES, as well as her supporting turn in EVER AFTER.

"SHATTERED GLASS is still playing in theatres, and I highly recommend that you catch it. It may show up in several categories on my nominating sheet." 4 1/2 cats