Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shattered Glass

I have a weakness for journalism films, not gonna lie. Hey, Sweet Smell of Success, Ace in the Hole and His Girl Friday are among my all-time favorites. But those journalism films based on real events are even better.

During the opening moments of Billy Ray's Shattered Glass, Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) is presented as a respected writer for many big magazines including The New Republic, Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar and George. A later scene shows him as a writer who sticks to his ethics. But there's one stunning thing about the great articles he wrote: they're fake.

Why would a promising writer like him forge the facts for a story? In one scene where an article of his is being heavily examined, Glass is clearly under pressure, the terror of being found out sinking in. Also take note of the expression on his editor Chuck Lane's (Peter Sarsgaard) face. You can practically see the gears turning in his head, wondering if his top writer is presenting fiction instead of fact.

The performances from Christensen and Sarsgaard are remarkable. Christensen plays Glass as a scared boy hiding behind the veneer of a confidant man. Sarsgaard portrays Lane as the man Glass strives to be: in control, in a seat of power, someone people can look up to. Both are great, but Sarsgaard steals the show.

Shattered Glass is a great film. Being an aspiring writer myself, this shows what not to do to become a famous journalist. And on another note, can someone explain to me how Sarsgaard has never been nominated for an Oscar yet?

My Rating: *****


  1. Sarsgaard is amazing in this role, but it was really Hayden who took me by surprise considering he usually blows in every other movie he does. Great film that definitely says a lot about journalism and shows you that everything you write about, will always be in print. Good review.

  2. I think this is a very underrated film about journalism. Notably about how it works.

    I like the way the narrative shifts where the first half is about Stephen Glass' rise and then the second half becomes about how Chuck Lane discovers the facade that is Stephen Glass.

    It's still the only thing that Hayden Christensen has done that is any good but the break-out star for me was Peter Sarsgaard. Excellent review.

  3. Caught this on cable in a hotel room while I was traveling and was hooked by it. Stellar film and made more so but the audacity of Glass to forge these stories just to make a name for himself. That scene at the end where Sarsgaard's character reads off the names of all the stories and the writer has to admit the fakery one by one. With each admission he sinks deeper and deeper into shame.


Comments are appreciated. More so if they are appropriate.