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"Shattered Glass"

Directed by Billy Ray.
Written by Billy Ray. 
Starring Hayden Christiansen and Peter Sarsgaard.
Release Year:  2003 
Review Date:  11/11/03 


He sucked as Anakin, but that Hayden kid sure can act after all!

“Shattered Glass” (open in select theaters in major outlets) stars Hayden Christiansen—in-between “Star Wars” prequels—as Stephen Glass, who in the late 90s wrote for The New Republic, a political magazine that is a major influence on American policymakers and government officials; its calling card, according to Glass, is that TNR is the in-flight magazine on Air Force One.  In May of 1998, TNR put out a story by Glass called “Hack Heaven”, which supposedly detailed a high school hacker that broke into one of the country’s leading electronics firms and forced the firm into giving him thousands of dollars to make him go away.  Initially, the public loved the story, until an online publication started digging into the story and finding holes all over its facts.

As it is set up, you know it is only a question of time before the editors of TNR, led by Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), find out that the story is a hoax; the intrigue of “Shattered Glass” is watching just how hard Glass is going to fall, and how he might try and dig his way out of it.  Christiansen is stellar in the lead for this film—he is just an annoying, kiss-ass bastard throughout, and it seemed to fit what was going on just perfectly, especially as the lies grow larger and larger from scene to scene.  The cast for “Shattered Glass” is great, with small parts by Rosario Dawson and Steve Zahn adding some humorous relief midway through the picture as the reporters at the online pub trying to bust Glass.  Sarsgaard is the best thing about “Shattered Glass”, though; I spent much of the film’s final 30 minutes just waiting to see when his character would explode, and Sarsgaard lets it slowly build up—you can almost see it simmering in his eyes at one point, when he makes Glass drive him around town to fact-check his story—until he finally hits the breaking point.

The pacing for “Shattered Glass” is excellent, and I felt like I learned a lot about the magazine editing process to boot.  The postscript information on the real people involved in the story was very interesting as well.  But, as good as “Shattered Glass” was, I just walked out of the theater thinking something was missing, something that made it seem...well, not perfect.  Really good, but “Shattered Glass” just didn’t have that extra something that takes it to the Opening Weekend level.

Still, I thought this was a great film and since the last flick I saw was “Revolutions”, it was 8500 times better than that dogshit.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09