Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Review: Shattered Glass (2003)
Billy Ray's first directorial effort is lacking anything you could rightly call a gimmick. It is a straightforward, honest portrayal of a real life liar, one that relies exclusively on its cast to do all of the hard work. It was a good call -- motherfuckers are on fire in this bad boy. You can see clearly every reason why Hank Azaria is well-liked and a good editor, why Peter Sarsgaard is disliked but possibly a better one, and why Hayden Christiensen is beloved but using that to extend a grace period to infinity. Steve Zahn and Rosario Dawson are in this too, by the way, for maybe ten minutes but man their scenes are so memorable that your brain will swear that they're in it for much longer.
The content itself is stacked together in neat columns, information that doesn't bog down the film or outstay its welcome. A lot is packed into a very tiny space, in what feels like a small movie when the end comes at an economical hour-and-a-half. Really, only Billy Ray's finale suffers from the speed of it. He writes Sarsgaard back in his coworkers' good graces in a single scene, on the day this all becomes national news, while the purpose of his strange framing device finally becomes clear. His denouement is a sudden drop into the closing credits but it leaves enough room for you to look this case up yourself. Lawyers stare at each other across a long table in a way that The Social Network will echo seven years later.
It's a fun, breathtaking ride. An industry film with no murders, car chases or nudity can feel quaint nowadays (this film's version of an action sequence is a conference call); quaint like the utilization of the Yahoo search engine or the general idea that journalists have any integrity. And you're telling me that the breakthrough for internet journalism was a fact-checking case? The irony.