Shattered Glass
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Shattered Glass OK, so journalism isn't the most exciting theme for a movie! But writer-director Ray channels the spirit of All the President's Men into this gripping and insightful true story. Stephen Glass (Christensen) was one of the youngest members of The New Republic's editorial staff in 1998, a shooting star with an ability to wow his editor (Azaria) with an entertaining pitch followed by a pithy and revealing article. He was clearly going places--heading for a Pulitzer before age 30. So when a writer at Forbes (Zahn) notices some anomalies in one of his articles, his slightly antagonistic new editor (Sarsgaard) and his loyal colleagues (Sevigny, Lynskey, Donella and Kirby) stick up for him ... as long as they can.

Ray tells the story with an intriguing framing device as Glass returns to his high school to talk to a classroom of writing students who hang on his every word. The complex flashback structure is cleverly and coherently edited to keep us right with Glass through his story--we only begin to really doubt him when he starts doubting himself. Credit for this effective approach goes to the superb script, as well as a shaded and absorbing performance from Christensen as a nice guy with a huge streak of humility, who just might be a pathological liar. Sarsgaard and Sevigny are also worth noting for their excellent work as people trying not to let their personal feelings cloud their judgement. Sarsgaard's especially noteworthy in the film's most complex and sympathetic role. This solid material makes it more than a little frustrating that Ray directs it like a TV movie--squeaky-clean production values, silky camera work, glib music. Even with the momentous subject matter, the film feels far too wholesome for its own good. But as the story starts cranking up, it really grabs hold of the audience, leading up to a brilliant conclusion that elegantly understates the film's seriously timely and essential central message. A must-see for any aspiring journalist.

cert 12tbc themes, language 23.Nov.03

dir-scr Billy Ray
with Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Hank Azaria, Melanie Lynskey, Rosario Dawson, Chad Donella, Luke Kirby, Jamie Elman, Mark Blum, Ted Kotcheff
release US 31.Oct.03; UK 14.May.04
Lions Gate
03/US 1h35

Another great pitch: Christensen and Sevigny.

sarsgaard zahn dawson
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall