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DIM WITTED REVIEWS FOR LIKE-MINDED MOVIE PATRONS

Monday, February 05, 2007


SHATTERED GLASS (2003)
DIRECTED BY: BILLY RAY
STARRING: HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN, PETER SAARSGARD, CHLOE SEVIGNY, AND STEVE ZAHN
Sometimes, as we all know, movies come and go at the movie theaters like so much buttery popcorn. We may see a trailer or two but their life at the cinema is so short that by the time we remember 'hey, that looked good', its because we are seeing a commercial for the soon-to-be-released dvd. 'Shattered Glass' was one of these movies. I remember the trailer when I was sitting in the theater waiting for something else to start and I think I made a mental note that it looked good. I liked the idea of seeing Hayden Christensen as something other than a delinquent (My Life as a House) or Darth Vadar (though I'll admit that I loved him as Anakin).
We rented the dvd from Netflix a while back and I really liked it. Last week it came on IFC and I gave it another watch. I think I loved it this time. There are so many great elements to it and I highly recommend it.
The movie tells the true story of Steven Glass, a 24 year old reporter for New Republic magazine, that seems to have the midas touch when it comes to journalism. His sensational articles become nationwide subjects of controversy, touching on delicate matters of a political nature or delving into the dark side of pop culture. His stories are absolutely compelling always and told in such a way that make them instantly appealing to readers of all ages. He becomes a virtual legend in his field-sought after by top magazines and newspapers of the country. In 1998, however, Steven Glass wrote an article that began to be researched by Forbes-a then online magazine-due to the sensational nature of the subject and the strange fact that no other magazine or newspaper seemed to have been able to grab that particular story. A quick examination of that facts immediately brings a somewhat disturbing situation to light. Steven Glass doesnt seem to have 'real' sources for many of his stories. His editor, Chuck Lane, is called upon to research all of Glass's past articles and determine how much of what has been written is fabricated.
Hayden Christensen is finally granted a meaty and intelligent part to cut his teeth upon. Steven Glass is a complex character that comes off as smarmy, charming, and even a little naive. The marriage of his brilliant mind to his almost child-like demeanor is deftly handled by director Billy Ray-a relative newcomer to the field. Christensen makes quite an impact and truly milks his role for all its worth. It's a flashy part with lots of layers that allow for many nuances in his performance. But it's Peter Saargard that strikes me as delivering a truly great performance. His interpretation of New Republic editor, Chuck Lane, is fantastic. He underplays the character perfectly, lending such realism to every look and movement. There are scenes of confrontation between he and the staff of the New Republic (all staunch supporters of Glass) that will almost make you cringe with sympathy. And his scenes with Christensen are brilliant, even though he delivers probably less than a third of the dialogue in each. Other good performances are turned in by Steve Zahn as the Forbes reporter out to hang Glass, and Hank Azaria as Steven's loyal former editor. Chloe Sevigny and Melanie Lynsky (who I really like in everything I've seen her do) also turn in credible performances. I would have liked to see a little more characterization for the supporting cast as well as a little more developement of the Forbes crew and their magazine. But none of this casts a shadow on the positive elements of the film.
One of the best things about the direction is how personable it is. The lighting in the offices is cold and flourescent in nature, lending that sickly wan quality to everything it touches. It really rang true for me-having spent a large chunk of time in cubicles myself. You feel for the characters and their long hours under such a depressing artificial aura. Even so, the direction and cinematography is extremely easy to watch since it is nicely crisp and the colors are muted to highlight this fact. The relatively short run time of 90 minutes also makes it quite a fun watch. The film moves along at a good and compelling pace throughout.
I recently saw a trailer for the new film by Ray, 'Breach'-also based on a true story, starring Chris Cooper and Laura Linney. It looks equally interesting and possibly more exciting than Shattered Glass. This time, I won't forget to see it in theaters if I get a chance.
My Rating: 8.5/10

2 Comments:

Blogger bookyeti said...

Wow...sounds like a pretty dern good flick. I haven't seen a preview of it, so thanks for bringing it to our attention. :)

2:00 PM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

I love that movie and I love Peter Saarsgard (spelling?)

2:45 AM  

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