While the majority of journalism-based movies focus on capturing the perfect exclusive or hounding the suspects or sources, Shattered Glass tells the story of inner-conflict and deceit within the world of journalism, which asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth?
Shattered Glass is a 2003 biographical film directed by Billy Ray covering the events that occurred at The New Republic magazine during the 1990’s. Based on a Vanity Fair article written by H.G. Bissinger in 1998, the film focuses on the rise and fall of journalist Stephen Glass’s career, who at the time was the youngest journalist writing for The New Republic. Hayden Christensen, who handles the lead role confidently, is a perfectly suitable choice for the deceitful journalist who once had become an established writer; fabricating news features and sources as he found them to be more entertaining.
Regarded as the turning point in Peter Sarsgaard’s career, his performance as Charles ‘Chuck’ Lane earned him a Golden Globe nomination for his role. Sarsgaard’s imposing presence captures the audience’s attention whenever he is on screen. Starting the film as the silent villain, the audience later becomes aware of his true and nobler intentions. Sarsgaard’s grim expression throughout makes him a perfect choice for the unsuspecting saviour of The New Republic magazine.
One of the film’s few downfalls is that it fails to explore in any detail the private lives of any of the characters, more importantly the character of Stephen Glass, who struggled with issues such as mental health and isolation. Disappointingly both are only briefly mentioned but due to a superb performance from Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass is a film well worth watching.
Best performance: Peter Sarsgaard.