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Shattered Glass

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Shattered Glass

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard
Director: Billy Ray
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: November 2003
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Chloe Sevigny, Melanie Lynskey, Steve Zahn, Hank Azaria, Rosario Dawson, Luke Kirby, Jamie Elman, Ted Kotcheff, Cas Anvar

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Long before Jayson Blair disgraced the editorial staff of 'The New York Times,' an ambitious 24 year-old 'New Republic' staff writer was caught fabricating facts. Inspired by a 'Vanity Fair' article by Buzz Bissinger, writer-director Billy Ray dissects exactly how this slippery scam-artist so charmed and manipulated the editors and staff co-workers that the accepted and essential rituals of copy editing and fact-checking were routinely suspended in his favor.

Charming Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) was just out of college and enrolling in law school when he became the pampered 'favorite' of popular editor Michael Kelly (Hank Azaria), churning out sensational essays that, invariably, made the cover of the weekly political magazine that compensated for its low circulation by claiming to be "the in-flight magazine of Air Force One." But when Kelly was fired, he had to report to Charles Lane (Peter Sarsgaard) who was alerted by an on-liner (Steve Zahn) who became suspicious about Glass's elusive sources. As Glass's journalistic transgressions became ever more transparent, Lane was forced into decisive action, despite indignant protests from Glass's duped colleague (Chloe Sevigny) and others.

Hayden Christensen ("Star Wars") captures a geek's hunger for glory, while Peter Sarsgaard conveys serious torment. In contrast to "All the President's Men" in which two investigative reporters were heroes, this cautionary tale excuses the culprit's duplicity, a familiar stance in our current climate of celebrity forgiveness. Yet, as a journalist, I find it difficult to empathize with Glass's deliberate dishonesty. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Shattered Glass" is a facile 5. "Journalism is just the art of capturing behavior," Glass asserts. But ethics count too.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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