Shattered Glass

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass
Peter Sarsgaard as Charles ‘Chuck’ Lane
Chloë Sevigny as Caitlin Avey
Rosario Dawson as Andy Fox
Melanie Lynskey as Amy Brand
Hank Azaria as Michael Kelly
Steve Zahn as Adam Penenberg
Mark Blum as Lewis Estridge
Simone-Elise Girard as Catarina Bannier
Chad Donella as David Bach
Jamie Elman as Aaron Bluth
Luke Kirby as Rob Gruen
Cas Anvar as Kambiz Foroohar
Linda E. Smith as Gloria
Ted Kotcheff as Marty Peretz

Special Features:
“60 Minutes” Interview with the real Stephen Glass

Audio Commentary by writer / director Billy Ray and the real Chuck Lane

Other Info:
Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
English Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 94 Minutes

Synopsis:
This film is based on a true story.

In 1998, Stephen Glass was a hot young journalist for the political magazine “The New Republic”. He also freelanced for “George”, “Rolling Stone”, “Harper’s Bazaar”, and other well known publications. Glass was known for writing stories about eccentric characters with outlandish tales.

However, things go bad for Glass when he writes a story about a young computer hacker. When a writer for Forbes.com starts investigating the story for a follow-up, he discovers that every single detail about the article was fabricated. As the revelation comes to light, Glass’ editor Chuck Lane must decide whether to stand behind his writer or face the possibility that his star reporter has been lying about his sources. Meanwhile, Glass creates lie after lie to try and cover his tracks.

Shattered Glass is rated PG-13 for language, sexual references and brief drug use.

The Movie:
Shattered Glass is quite an amazing tale. Despite all the checks and balances in place in the media, one man was able to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and publish one article after another that were all lies. It’s not only stunning that he was able to get away with it, but it’s amazing that he was able to get away with it for so long. On top of that, he had so charmed his co-workers with his personality and needy character that they stood up for him and justified his actions even after he broke every rule of their trade. I was stunned to see how they tried to write off his lies at every turn and attacked Glass’ editor for even suggesting that he be fired. Even more amazing is the fact that today reporters at every publication seem to be exposed for doing the same thing. You’d think the lesson would have been learned, but it hasn’t.

Hayden Christensen does his best to make us forget his acting in Attack Of The Clones and he is successful in Shattered Glass. The total meltdown of his character is a slow process, but Christensen makes it believable the whole way. He very subtly manipulates everyone around him even though they don’t seem to notice it. Any time someone confronts him with his lies he cowers, acts humble, asks, “Are you mad at me?”, and does his best to weasel out of the situation. Hayden portrays him very well and takes you to the point where you want to wring his neck.

Peter Sarsgaard is also good as Chuck Lane and he got justifiable recognition for his performance in a few awards circles. His character seems to be the only one with his head on straight and maintains his composure despite the fact that Glass is turning his own employees against him behind his back. Lane is tolerant of Glass long after I would have lost it with him. He is also supported by a great cast including Steve Zahn in a non-goofy role, Hank Azaria as a supportive editor, and Rosario Dawson as an intrepid reporter.

Overall, Shattered Glass is a cautionary tale that is engaging, entertaining, and well worth checking out.

On a side note, I usually don’t notice the picture quality on DVDs, but in this movie I frequently saw black specks and hairs pop on the screen. It was a bit distracting.

The Extras:
There are only two extras included on this DVD, but they both supplement the movie well. I wish they had a good “making of” documentary with it featuring interviews with the cast, but that is absent:

“60 Minutes” Interview with the real Stephen Glass – This is a really fascinating piece from the famous TV news show. They interview the real Glass and show that he’s just as weasely in real life as he was portrayed in the movie. He almost seems to be bragging about his lies and his discussions with 60 Minutes seem like nothing more than a ploy to promote his book. There are also interviews with the real Chuck Lane and some of his former co-workers. It’s a great follow-up to the movie and it tells more of what happened to Glass after the credits rolled in the film.

Audio Commentary by writer / director Billy Ray and the real Chuck Lane – This is a first rate commentary. Not only do you learn about the making of the movie from Ray, but you learn about how close the film is to actual events from Lane. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a commentary where the real person the character was based on provided discussion. He tells what the movie got right, what it got wrong, and his thoughts on Glass. It is well worth checking out if you enjoyed the film.

The Bottom Line:
Shattered Glass is a DVD worth checking out. If you like Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, or any of the other actors, you’ll really enjoy this movie.

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