Shattered Glass (2003)

172146__shattered_glass_l“Shattered Glass” is the fact based drama about the newspaper “The New Republic”, a small time barely known news magazine for Washington that offered news articles about world events and finance. The magazine, while struggling, did 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. 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. I was sucked in and not once did I move from my seat, because this is approached with such urgency yet such simplicity, and I couldn’t help but become involved.

The reporters in the magazine are all friends, but they’re also rivals. Glass played by Hayden Christensen, is the most charismatic with a lot of stories ranging from funny to outlandish, is also very much of a character. He’s never genuine during his time as a reporter, and is always playing a character, or trying to persuade someone to believe ins his facade. 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. Peter Saarsgard plays the often silent and intense Chuck 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. As the film progresses, with great direction from Billy Ray, the narrative along with the figurative noose gets tighter as Glass keeps getting foiled with lie after lie all thanks to Lane’s merciless pursuit in revealing who he really is. “Shattered Glass” is a tense portrait of how one incident affects many. An excellent movie with a suspenseful and engrossing story with some really good performances from Christensen, and Saarsgard who shines here.