Sunday, 20 May 2012

Shattered Glass

Poor Hayden Christensen. There really is no shaking the legacy of those Star Wars films. Shame, because contrary to common belief he’s not a bad actor - wooden in said space opera. Agreed. But they weren’t exactly great scripts and I suspect he didn’t receive the requisite direction a young actor might need. But here he’s pretty good. Released in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith this sees him in something a lot more down to earth.

The 2003 film Shattered Glass tells the fascinating real life tale of Stephen Glass (Christensen), a journalist at The New Republic. We are told it is “the in-flight magazine on Air Force One” and for a publication of such distinction it has an absurdly young staff: one of whom, just in his twenties, is Glass. It is discovered that one of his pieces, Hack Heaven, is not entirely true, and leads to further revelations that he has been fabricating material.

In scope, it’s quite a small story, but that’s one of its strengths. Director Billy Ray allows us a detailed peek into the close workings of an interesting publication and a scandal that rocked it. Kept within a relatively short timeframe and in and around The New Republic offices, the focus on the events is tight. This keeps things lean and mean with little to distract from the central story. Hollywood take note. It didn’t exactly blow me away. I would liked to have see more examples of his fakery. But this is solid script-led story telling from a writer/director who really understands his subject matter. It also has a very watchable cast.

Bright young things of the early noughties give strong support: Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson and Steve Zahn As one of the older cast members (and that’s not old), he of many-a-Simpsons-voice, Hank Azaria is excellent as always. Random fact: owner of the magazine, Marty Peretz is played by director Ted Kotcheff, he of First Blood fame. Christensen himself does a good job – Glass is something of an oddball. Although he is capable of kindness and liked by his peers, there is just something not quite right about him and he pulls this off well.


  1. "there is just something not quite right about him and he pulls this off well."
    I think because that statement sums up not only the character but the actor playing him.
    Hayden Christansensanson is an uncomfortable screen presence. And completely unlikeable. This role is probably one of only a handful he should be allowed to perform. Jumper while severely flawed was increasingly more dire because of his presence. Obviously now Robert Pattinson exists there is no more work for poor Anakin. Which is a good thing.

    1. Bill, due to your unhealthy obsession with Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell I cannot accept your comments on Jumper as being objective. Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell does have to share screen time with other actors. So please try not to despise and decry their performances because they impinge on the presence of your lifelong hero.

  2. He acts like he's stuck in an "Edgar suit"

    May I also note the omission of Ted Kotcheff's work on "Weekend at Bernie's" an oversight to great to not harm this review.

  3. I haven't seen this one, but I think I'd watch it. I'm with you that there's more to Cristensen, and I'd recommend Vanishing on 7th Street. Brad Anderson directed it, and it's a pretty damn good horror film.