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Shattered Glass (2003)

Cast: Hayden Christensen, Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, more...
Director: Billy Ray, Billy Ray
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Rating:
Studio: Lions Gate
Genre: Drama, Independent
Running Time: 94 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Synopsis
Before Jayson Blair made headlines for his plagiarized New York Times reporting, Stephen Glass defamed the weekly current events magazine The New Republic with a series of eye-catching, entertaining, and completely fabricated stories. Now Glass' trail of lies gets the big-screen treatment in writer/director Billy Ray's Shattered Glass, featuring Hayden Christensen in the title role. The film chronicles Glass' time at the magazine in the late '90s, when his colorful coverage of a hedonistic Young Republican convention, superstar web hackers, and the circus surrounding the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinski scandal made him the toast of the publishing world, garnering attention from such national publications as George and Rolling Stone. Barely out of college, the eager Glass ingratiates himself with the office staff, including his mentor, managing editor Michael Kelly (Hank Azaria). But when Kelly is unceremoniously fired and replaced with editor Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), Glass' pieces come under a greater degree of scrutiny, until one in particular threatens to expose his tall tales to the rest of the world. Based in part on a Vanity Fair article by journalist Buzz Bissinger, Shattered Glass premiered at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals before its limited fall theatrical release. ~ Michael Hastings, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Staff Pick: Actor Peter Sarsgaard first made an impact in the shattering Boys Don't Cry, in which he played the creepiest of Brandon Teena's tormentors to mesmerizing effect, and has more recently been praised for his lovely, Oscar-nominated turn as Dr. Kinsey's bisexual assistant, and as a tormented soldier in the just-released Jarhead. But in the sharp Shattered Glass he does remarkable work as well, playing New Republic editor Chuck Lane, who takes over from Michael Kelly (Hank Azaria, quite good in a rare dramatic role), the editor who initially hires eager young writer Stephen Glass. Hayden Christensen, a.k.a. young Annakin Skywalker, is in a far more interesting, if still enervating, role as Glass, the puppy-doggish writer who sacrifices ethics and truth in favor of attention. He constantly asks "Are you mad at me?" in earnest, with Sarsgaard's Lane seemingly the only one who is. In one particularly nerve-wracking sequence, Lane takes Glass on a fact-checking tour to the places mentioned in one of his fabricated articles to basically rub his nose in the lies. The always engaging (even when he's in crap like Sahara) Steve Zahn lends fine support as a rival reporter who sniffs something isn't quite right with Glass' reporting. Director Billy Ray had called his film "little brother to All the President's Men," and while Shattered Glass isn't quite in the same league as that king of all investigative reporting films, it's very worthy progeny, suspenseful and extremely provocative. The "60 Minutes" interview with the real Glass included here is fascinating and disturbing; he seems to revel in the spotlight even as his reputation has crashed and burned beyond redemption. Sadly, as we've seen in subsequent years, he's not alone. -- Tamara Lees




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