Shattered Glass (8/10)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley

 Jayson Blair may be the most famous creative writer of factual stories for a left wing publication (The New York Times), but Stephen Glass was the first, writing his fiction for The New Republic.  Glass wrote 27 fabricated articles for TNR from 1995-98. His malfeasance came to light when Forbes Digital Tool, an online magazine, started investigating and asking tough questions that Glass tried to answer.

 Glass (Hayden Christensen) is a young, obsequious writer who kisses up to everyone, and seemingly apologizes for everything he does. His editor, Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), slowly becomes suspicious when faced with penetrating questions by the Forbes writers. Lane is not viewed favorably by the TNR staff because he has replaced popular editor Michael Kelly (Hank Azaria). Despite this, he perseveres in investigating Glass.

 Shattered Glass starts out very slow. But if you can make it through the first half hour, the final hour is compelling as Glassís world slowly falls apart, as does he, despite the support of his fellow staff members, who feel that Lane is picking on Glass. Glassís descent into infamy is mesmerizing to watch.

 I question the technique of having Glass give a lecture to a high school journalism class, taught by his former teacher, to set things up. The many cuts back to his lecture to the class slow the first half hour. I guess theyíre trying to make a point of his hypocrisy, but itís unnecessary considering what follows, which is the real story and needs no Hollywood storytelling boost.

 Both Christensen and Sarsgaard give exceptional performances. Writer-Director Billy Ray has produced a well-written film that educates and entertains. What more can you want?

 November 8, 2003

 The End