Shattered Glass: Late night gem
April 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
Shattered Glass (2003). Cert: 12A. Dir: Billy Ray. Starring: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Zahn.
I caught this film on BBC One late one Wednesday night recently (23 March, 2011). My expectations weren’t that high, but I really was very pleasantly surprised. I was unable to sleep after watching it and have been thinking about it since. I felt the need to write something in its praise.
It tells the true story of young journalist Stephen Glass, who wrote for The New Republic (one of the most highly respected political magazines in the US), and other high profile publications such as Rolling Stone and Harper’s. After building a reputation as The New Republic’s “rising star”, the authenticity of one of Glass’s articles came under scrutiny from a journalist at a rival publication. Upon further investigation, Glass was found to have “invented” elements (or possibly entire events) of at least half of the articles he had written.
Hayden Christensen – often considered “wooden” in many of his roles – is actually really very good, and manages to pull off a character who seems capable of saying anything to get himself off the hook, at times coming off as slightly creepy, whilst still remaining likeable. He is the type of person who always pays compliments to his colleagues, always remembers their birthdays and always appears to be self-deprecating.
I really felt for Christensen’s character and did not want him to be “found out”. The film made me think about the depths of Glass’s imagination and how astoundingly brilliant they really were. I also thought about the fact he was very young (only 23 when he began working at The New Republic), how much he wanted to succeed, and how desperately he craved approval from his editor and colleagues (I keep thinking about the line “You’re not mad at me, are you?”).
The later scenes of the film, when Glass’s work is being questioned, are thoroughly nail-biting and I found myself unable to watch at times, cringing, and feeling Glass’s embarrassment, as he desperately tries to explain the holes in his story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and would highly recommend it – why has it taken me so long to see it??!!