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SHATTERED GLASS

Stephen Glass, a talented young staff writer for The New Republic, was so hungry for fame that he stretched the truth or told total lies in 27 of his 41 published articles for the magazine. This is a blow-by-blow, whopper-by-whopper, account of his mendacious spree and its aftermath.

CAST: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Chloe Sevigny, Melanie Lynskey, Steve Zahn, Greg Kinnear, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rosario Dawson, Mark Blum, Jamie Elman, Cas Anvar, James Berlingieri, Ron Weeks

DIRECTOR: Billy Ray

"… a study in smarminess in which even the honest journalists come across as pretentious brats…It's handsomely made and decently acted, especially by Hayden Christensen, who plays the creepy title character as if he were the smarter kid brother of Anthony Perkins's obsequiously androgynous Norman Bates in ‘Psycho.’ But the movie as a whole seems an irrelevancy…‘Shattered Glass’ does show that its ambitious villain was less turned on by being a reporter than by being a Somebody worthy of a Pulitzer (though apparently no one told him that Pulitzers are not awarded to magazine writers). But more often the movie doesn't puncture so much as perpetuate the star-worshipping celebrity culture that attracts a Glass. ‘Shattered Glass’ is as pompous about The New Republic as its fictionalized New Republic staffers are, portraying the publication as the biggest thing to be handed down from on high since the Ten Commandments." --Frank Rich, The New York Times

"If the internal turmoils of a political magazine based in Washington are now considered sufficient grounds for a motion picture, there is no saying where the movie industry, avid for fresh material, will choose to cast its net: A struggle for the soul of Men’s Health? A major dustup over late-bottled port in the pages of Decanter? …as a whole, ‘Shattered Glass’ is carefully constructed, intently played, and shot with creepy calm. It is also, by a considerable margin, the most ridiculous movie I have seen this year. The problem is simple: what, pray, is the big deal? …I’ve seen productions of ‘Parsifal’ that made less of a fuss…The closing credits of the movie remind us that Stephen Glass’s editor Michael Kelly was killed while working in Iraq in 2003. Now, that is a story, and it makes the rest of ‘Shattered Glass’ look smaller than ever." --Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"‘Shattered Glass’ is the best movie about American journalism since ‘All the President's Men’… In fact, the new picture is better than its popular predecessor…More intimate in its approach and much closer to the everyday world of real journalism, ‘Shattered Glass’ is at once an involving fact-based drama and a cautionary tale -- showing how even a periodical that prides itself on conscience and conscientiousness can find its own editors badly served, not to mention its readers…Hayden Christensen presents a thoughtful and sometimes touching portrait of Glass, painting him as a career-obsessed young man whose very real talent is sabotaged by a risk-taking mentality and a desperate need to impress his colleagues... one of the season's most thoughtful offerings." --David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor

"The movie is a serious, well-observed examination of the practice of journalism, and if it takes note of the vanity and obsessiveness that are among the vices of the profession, it also acknowledges (and perhaps romanticizes) the hard work and idealism that are among its virtues…an astute and surprisingly gripping drama not only about the ethics of magazine writing, but also, more generally, about the subtle political and psychological dynamics of modern office culture…Mr. Christensen, best known for his light-saber work as the young Anakin Skywalker in the latest ‘Star Wars’ episodes, finds the perfect balance between creepiness and charm." --A. O. Scott, The New York Times

"It doesn't have the shape of a great drama: It has some whopping omissions, and its uplifting climax (which involves Glass' editor, Chuck Lane) is an eye-roller. But it makes us feel the way our forefathers must have felt after a really good public stoning. The object of our fury is struck a thousand times and yet keeps staggering to his feet: The release of the movie itself is like the final, mortal blow. Of course, it must feed Glass' ego to be impersonated—evidently to a T—by Hayden Christensen between ‘Star Wars’ pictures. This movie treats Glass and the New Republic as if both were the center of the media cosmos and can't help but confer glamour on its subjects even as it skewers them: the quintessential celebrity-era tradeoff." --David Edelstein, Slate

"…a scarily compelling thriller that puts journalistic ethics on trial. Hayden Christensen [pictured at right], a wooden George Lucas puppet in the last two ‘Star Wars’ fizzles, is sensational as Glass, finding the wonder boy and the weasel in a disturbed kid flying high on a fame he hasn't earned… Sarsgaard [far right] makes a devastating impression, finding the steel of principle in the starchy Lane. The film never digs deep enough into the pressures on Glass from his family, his peers and himself to achieve psychological depth. But as an inside look into the hothouse of journalism, it's dynamite." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"Sarsgaard is terrific at conveying Lane’s growing horror about what he knows in his bones to be true—but can’t quite accept…‘Shattered Glass’ is really Lane’s story, which is mainly due to Sarsgaard’s performance. As Glass, Hayden Christensen is too self-consciously callow a careerist. Christensen doesn’t have any sociopathology in his soul; he’s a nice kid playing a (screwed-up) nice kid. The anatomy of a con artist is beyond his psychological scope, and it may be beyond [director] Billy Ray’s as well. He’s so eager to be fair-minded about everything and everyone that you can’t help thinking he’s a patsy, too. If he directed a movie of ‘Othello,’ he’d probably try to make us feel warm and fuzzy about poor, misunderstood Iago." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"The film that will teach you something about ethics gone awry, and the souring of the American dream in the rapidly disintegrating world of journalism, is ‘Shattered Glass’…a riveting, scrupulously detailed new film by first-time director Billy Ray with an extraordinarily gripping performance by Hayden Christensen…It’s as painful to watch as it is educational, subtly nuanced and quietly shocking. Even if you don’t care much about the responsibility of the press, I think you will find this cautionary tale one terrific movie." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"I have hated the idea of this movie since it was announced. First of all, it is inside journalism, and barely that. It's inside niche-magazine journalism. Next to the subsequent Jayson Blair debacle at The New York Times, the Glass affair is about as scandalous as a condom found in the parking lot at a National Youth Christian Leadership Conference. More to the point, it irks the ink out of me to see Lane exalted as a hero for doing what any responsible editor would do, then being paid to consult on his own canonization." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"Ray, who wrote and directed the movie based on a Vanity Fair article by Buzz Bissinger, nails the workplace environment perfectly, capturing the pressures, the politics and the egos involved in high-level journalism. However, he leaves one question unasked: Why did Glass make up all those stories in the first place? …All we really know is that the young man had an incredible imagination and a way with people and the written word. What drove him to become a compulsive liar and how deeply rooted this problem was in his past goes unexplored…‘Shattered Glass’ comes off as a mystery, in the best and worst senses of the word." --Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News

"Christensen plays Glass as a manipulative twerp—there's no excitement to his subterfuge… his roguish charm is nowhere apparent…the Sarsgaard slow burn is only marginally more compelling than the Christensen simper; like its subject, the movie is self-important yet insipid." --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"Far from being an exposé of media hackery, ‘Shattered Glass’ is an ardent defense of ethical journalism — which is moving enough for insiders, but may not be all that exciting to a general audience…Ray’s refusal to psychologize Glass is refreshing, but it’s also a missed opportunity to climb out on a limb about what — or who — motivated his capacity for deceit and, in the end, for self-immolation…Christensen’s slack goofiness does little to show us how such a doofus could so ingratiate himself, and why his apparent innocence was so sinister." --Ella Taylor, LA Weekly

"The sheer loathesomeness of protagonist Stephen Glass as portrayed by Hayden Christensen makes ‘Shattered Glass’ hard to watch…He's a creep so smug, oily and manipulative you crave his downfall even before you discover the full extent of his lies and his even more pathological efforts to cover them up…Unfortunately, Glass' nemesis, editor Charles Lane (the talented Peter Sarsgaard), is never fully developed as a character. From the get-go, he hits a sour, gloomy note as the disliked editor forced to investigate a popular reporter and he never varies from it. But the film remains compelling, despite these problems with the two main characters and a shaky flashback structure." --Jonathan Foreman, The New York Post

"Meticulously expanded by Ray from Buzz Bissinger's Vanity Fair .article, ‘Shattered Glass’ pertinently demonstrates how a 24-year-old up-and-comer could seduce a staff of seasoned professionals into publishing a string of stunningly dishonest pieces. Hayden Christensen immerses himself completely and chillingly into the skin of Glass…the charismatic embodiment of a young man who instinctively understood how to temper the art of showmanship with the craft of false humility." --Jan Stuart, Newsday