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.
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
Another great pitch: Christensen and Sevigny.
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