"Shattered Glass" is the fact based drama about the newspaper "The New Republic", a small time barely known news magazine for Washington which gives informative news articles about world events and finance. The magazine, while struggling, does have a flourishing and passionate staff of reporters and journalists, one of them being Stephen Glass, a young likable reporter who always has a new story, during meetings, he pitches to the editors which always goes to print.
"Shattered Glass" is based on the real events that occurred in 1995 - 98 in which reporter Stephen Glass was discovered to have been fabricating articles over a long period of his career. When he reports on a very sensational event involving a hacker and his newfound success at a company, Forbes magazine stumbles on the article and wants to capitalize on its success, but two fact checkers (Steve Zahn, Rosario Dawson) discover that no such event ever occurred and no such people ever existed, now the new editor of the New Republic Chuck Lane is caught in the middle unsure whether to believe Forbes or stand by Stephen.
This is a really simple film, but the fact that the production quality wasn't up to par, from what I've heard seems to improve because this is just an excellent film. Though this wasn't the first account of a reporter making up his articles, this film really magnifies the sheer chaos that comes when one newspaper discovers its star reporter is a fraud and what the implications can result from it regarding a paper's credibility.
Stephen is a phony from the get go always complimenting his secretary with boisterous compliments to her like "Your lipstick is the bomb!", always seeking approval from everyone he meets, even setting a side a jug of diet coke for a reporter, alphabetizing his beer at a party. He puts on such an incredible act that inevitably his co-workers strive to be like him, at one point a reporter unsuccessfully attempts to mimic his writing style, but he is also pretty much a worm always seeking approval and satisfaction from his co-workers and bosses and apologizing for practically everything, even asking "Did I do something wrong?" and "Are you mad at me?" every time someone asks to speak with him seeking their forgiveness, so they'd take pity upon him to let him sneak in under their radar and submit a phony story, but really his insecurity is just a ruse and a perfect act that gives him an excuse to slip under their radar and be fake, Hayden Christensen is surprisingly good in the film.
I'll admit I've doubted his acting skills from the get go with mediocre performances in films like "Life as a House" and "Star Wars", but he is really good in the film. While sleek and stylish and a meek exterior, he is very threatening as well. You're never really sure what he's up to in the film and Christensen handles the role with much perfection. Glass always gets his articles past his boss, especially his first one Michael Kelly, played with great charm by the always good Hank Azaria. Kelly is a somewhat dismissive and passive aggressive boss who is a favorite with all his employees for his will to defend them and Glass admires him not because of that fact, but because he's able to sneak articles past him with his usual routine of insecurity, sucking up, and admiration and Kelly, being the powerful authority figure never really questions him.
All of that seems to change once Kelly is fire and in comes Chuck Lane. Peter Saarsgard (Empire, Garden State), an actor who I always enjoy watching, plays the often silent and intense Lane who gets the job under much pressure as a lot of resentment emerges from his co-workers. Lane is caught in a bind once he begins to suspect Glass' fabricated articles and faces a task as whether to stand by Glass or go against him. Being a co-worker of his for so long he slowly seems to catch up with Glass and his tricks and take no pity.
There are also some great supporting performances, mostly from Chloe Sevigny who seems to be in every independent film, as Caitlin the outside watcher of the incident who defends Glass until the very end also harboring resentment towards Lane which seems to be her underlying motive from the start. This is a great film with great actors and as the film progresses, the story, with great direction from Billy Ray, gets tighter and moves a bit faster as plot twist after plot twist unfolds before our eyes.
As Glass keeps getting foiled with
lie after he lie becomes a prisoner in his own deceit with no way of
escaping Lane's merciless pursuit in revealing who he really is.
Ultimately, the climax reveals Glass for who and what he really is, a
man who is trapped in his own delusion and self glorification, and
"Shattered Glass" is a tense portrait of how one incident affects
An excellent movie with a suspenseful and engrossing story with some really good performances from Christensen, Sevigny, Azaria, and especially Peter Saarsgard who shines here.