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Shattered Glass (DVD)

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Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 2003 / Director: Billy Ray / Actors: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard ... / DVD released 04 October, 2004 at MGM Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    4 Reviews
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    • More +
      12.10.2011 21:19
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      Another true story set in the world of journalism - an interesting story though its not for everyone

      - Story -

      Shattered Glass tells the true story of Stephen Glass, a popular young journalist who wrote for "The New Republic" in the mid 1990s. His rather 'juicy' stories of course helped to sell the paper, although eventually after one particular story got the attention of someone who knew better, inconsistencies come to light and the validity of his sources, the information in the story comes to light - much to the delight of competitors. However the question is was the story entirely fabricated and does this apply to his previous stories? how do his colleagues and bosses respond and what becomes of this young 'professional' in such a cut-throat industry? this is what the movie is all about.



      - Thoughts & Opinions -

      *please note some scenes and some plot info. is discussed below which could be seen as spoilers, its hard not to given the type of movie it is but if you don't want to know much about it then perhaps skip to the last heading/section - thanks* (I've left a blank space below so people don't accidentally read anything that could be seen as a spoiler, just to be on the safe side after people have complained about this in my previous reviews of similar movies I think - hope this helps).
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      First off, as a movie, particularly as its a true story, its all about just that, the story. There's no real visual effects or anything along those lines to keep you watching, instead its the character of Stephen Glass that the movie is focussed on, him and the reaction of those around him, both as loyal colleagues and competitors in his profession, who slowly become aware of inconsistencies to his latest story, although the ultimate extent of this is whats probably most shocking.

      Of course this movie has some similarities to another movie I reviewed recently called The Hoax - in that movie the publishers were very keen to have the book published with the knowledge that it would likely become a bestseller as the 'true' story of Lord Lucan told by himself, although of course it was, as the title indicated, a hoax - although in both movies when inconsistencies come to light which are hard to entirely turn away from, its clear that the publishing world is very much enticed by the opportunity to publish stories, whether in paper or journal form or in paper or hard back - though its unlikely to surprise many people, its a bit of a sad state of affairs and I suppose this movie further begs the question - when you read an interesting story that really 'pulls you in' as a reader, if the facts sound plausible enough and the story is perhaps 'juicy' enough, do you ever stop to question it? few people probably would as long as it sounds like something that could happen, I'd have thought and thats where we're at the mercy of the press I suppose and you could say that this is the warning that movies such as this highlight, which is definitelty a worthy one in my eyes. I found it interesting watching the reacion of his colleagues at the paper, as they discussed what may happen to him - the comeraderie and loyalty they showed towards him and later on we also see that there was some hesitation shown by the paper, not by Stephens direct boss but by management who were quite cautious about outrightly firing him for fear that this would spark resignations by others and could lead to the downfall of the paper - again this may make you wonder what goes on, what information people may be sitting on - as far as the papers may be concerned, all that matters is that they have a successful business in terms of units sold and profits earned - the way thats suggested to deal with Stephens fabrication(s) being essentially a case of a harsh telling off and lost income for a fair amount of time but no real loss of career. Having said this, if this seems like a spoiler it isn't entirely as this isn't what the ultimate outcome is for?.

      Its interesting to see some of the tactics used as people look into the validity of his story which led to obviously action being taken - there's one scene involving multiple journalists repeatedly phoning a number supposedly belonging to the software company that the report in question centres on - considering it had been established through multiple searches online and phoning up phone directory services that the company didn't seem to exist, it was taken with great scepticism that said number was genuine, so they phone in such a way to try and determine whether or not the recipient has multiple phone lines (which is an indication as to whether its a genuine business phone number or not).

      As the movie winds down, we see Stephens demeanour change, whereas before he was clearly quite comfortable with what he'd done, quite in control thus he didn't seem too worried about being found out but as things unwind, he tries to maintain the same persona but he clearly has to work harder behind the scenes.

      Equally there's another interesting reaction by the paper who order staff to double, no triple or even quadruple (I forget which) check every single report for grammatical error (the over-use of comma's being the main one mentioned) before letting them go to press. Its ironic perhaps, concentrate on the look and layout of the piece almost religiously but what about the validity of the claims in it?. Stephen seems to be very much involved in his career, his profession, he doesn't have a partner or children from what I remember, although its indicated that he has feelings for his assistant/colleague Amy. He pretty much looks the part of a journalist and seeing him speak in front of a class of presumably wannabe journalists, he seems in his element. Image seems to be quite a big consideration, earlyish on in the movie the journalists working for the paper are encouraged to come forward with more stories that will help keep the paper going, as there was a fear that it was possibly becoming outdated, with the internet generation pushing through (the movie is set in 1998 I believe - its funny to see shots of the old Yahoo search engine and old CRT monitors in use back then - it does look pretty outdated now) and there being a worrying feeling that the paper is still stuck in the 1980s and may become rather obsolete.

      Back to the movie and I'd say that its perhaps a bit bland - really its all about the story, the performances are decent enough (side note - Hayden Christensen playing Stephen looks almost like Harry Potter with those glasses!) and its watchable, its not overly long at about an hour and a half running time, though its not the sort of movie that I feel really 'pulled me in' - its not particularly suspenseful or thrilling, or I suppose even entertaining maybe... it depends, its a movie that if the story and the questions it poses is something your really interested in then its worth a watch, you know the usual pretty much. I wouldn't say its a bad movie per se, infact I think in a way its a movie that needed to be made for the questions it raises about self regulation in the press and suchlike - given its remit to tell a true story and to make you think, it does that quite well but as an all-out engrossing big Hollywood blockbuster, eh, that its not, I think its fair to say (not that it necessarily should be one of those but all the same.).


      - Would I Recommend It? -

      I think that as a story, its one thats very much worth being aware of - as a movie if its a story you'd prefer to watch acted out than sit and read (being aware of what it is) then sure, give it a watch but I do think it was perhaps a bit bland and a little slow maybe.

      If it was up to me, again I'd rather we had the option for half star ratings, in which case I'd give this a 3.5 star rating ie almost right slap bang down the middle lol I felt a bit distracted while watching the movie, yet having seen it and looking back on it, I feel it has an important story to tell and yes, as I touched on prior in this review there are other similar movies which make similar points, I still feel this movie shouldn't be totally dismissed. I think its somewhat similar to movies such as The Social Network - the main character isn't entirely likeable and he gets questioned about where his ideas came from - these movies aren't really big blockbuster entertaining movies, they work because their true stories which are intriguing and I suppose the audience enjoys finding out about these characters and so on, which somewhat applies to Stephen although I'd say he isn't too charismatic, but then neither is Jesse Eisenberg who played Mark Zuckerberg either, I guess.

      Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful (and not too much about the story? although its hard to give out too many spoilers as such I think as its based on a true story and the ultimate outcome only comes to light right at the end). Thanks for any and all rates and comments and as usual, this review was originally posted on Ciao UK.

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      • More +
        04.11.2009 13:00
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        Watch it when it happens to be on T.V

        Shattered Glass is a 2003 film about a true story that took place in 1998. It all revolves around Stephen Glass, a fraudulent Washington D.C journalist who, while working for The New Republic Magazine, decides that to get fame he needs to lie his way to the top by fabricating stories, sources and quotes.
        But his deception does not go unnoticed.

        Cast Includes:
        Hayden Christensen - Stephen Glass
        Peter Sarsgaard - Charles 'Chuck' Lane
        Chloe Sevigny - Caitlin Avey
        Hank Azaria - Michael Kelly

        I wasn't surprised to find out this film was a Lions Gate Production (I won't pretend to know who Lions Gate are but assume them to be a small film company) but I was surprised to find out that one of the Executive Producers was Tom Cruise. I don't know why this surprises me but, after watching the film, I feel like I have watched a Tom Cruise interview for One hour and a half (I am not a fan).
        The film starts with some writing, it is a cleverly added little blurb about the background of The New Republic Magazine (which, I will now refer to as TNR) and then a little about what TNR was like during 1998, the year in which all this took place. I like this being added as it helps the viewer understand the background without having to research yourself or just be plain confused by lots of text on screen.

        Then we are thrown straight into the world of Stephen Glass, along with a little narration by his character that crops up every now and again in the film.
        It quickly establishes Glass as a young man with an eye for good reporting, he is full of ambition (he hints about wanting to win a Pulitzer Prize, don't get much more ambitious than that) quirky, a flatterer, very popular with the people in his office including his boss, Michael Kelly. Glass likes to brag about conversations with people and the exploits he witnesses and wishes to turn into articles. He even goes to his boss and apologises profusely when he makes a mistake sin one of his articles, he appears a very nice, very genuine boy.

        The scenes seem to be based around a school scene, where Glass is visiting his old High School and talking to the students about what it is like to be a reporter and how to write a magazine worthy article, including the processes'. While he is doing this he also seems to be reminiscing about his time at TNR and, while telling the students all his stories etc, we see what it all instead of just listening to him. All this is to show how he got to the 'present' day in his life (1998 that is).

        The first 20 minutes is a little dialogue heavy and nothing really seems to happen (I feel like I have been watching more like 40 minutes of it) but it is all relevant to the story and this becomes clear later on, such as showing his boss, Michael Kelly being fired and his replacement being 'Chuck'. Michael is popular with everyone, whereas Chuck isn't so much and his replacing Michael as Editor of TNR makes him even more unpopular. Stephen uses this later on as a way to try and cover his lies, as though Chuck is out to get him because Stephen was friends with Michael and that Chuck will be after getting rid of the others next.

        About 30 minutes into the film the suspicions start to arise due to an article Glass writes 'Hack Heaven' about a boy who, because he is such a good hacker and a huge firm can not keep him out their systems, instead hires him and gives him everything he wants, a dream come true for a teenager.

        Stephen thinks he is very clever and that he has every angle covered. He invents email addresses and telephone numbers for people who don't exist. Even has his brother record a voicemail message, he creates a website for a fake company and has all the 'notes' for his article on an event that never happened.
        But, we see, he is not that clever.
        An internet based magazine investigates his 'Hack Heaven' article to find, well, nothing, they can't find any of the people who are mentioned in the article or, even, any information on the company involved. A team of 3 people start working on picking the pieces apart and trying to get evidence.
        S
        Glass does what we don't expect him to do and he covers his lies with even more lies.
        This is the point where things start to get a little more exciting and I now want to watch the rest of the film.
        I want to find out if Glass admits all the lies, who uncovers the truth first? Will Chuck realise what has been going on with Glass and his articles?

        And then this is when Chuck comes into play more. During a telephone conversation between the internet magazine and Chuck and Glass, along with all Glass' notes being there with them. Glass is scrutinized over all the details of the 'Hack Heaven' article. He squirms and lies his way through it and we see Chuck starting to question all the wholesomeness of Glass.
        When Chuck goes to try and prove the places and people exist and finds out it doesn't he questions Glass.
        This is the point where I start to get repulsed by Glass.
        He has already told his work colleagues that Chuck is out to get him and now he lies through his teeth to Chuck, he becomes defensive and acts like a petulant child.
        Of course, Glass is eventually sacked when everything points to him having completely fabricated at least one of his articles, compromising the reputation and future of TNR in the process.

        In the end we are shown Glass in the same classroom but it is now empty. Knowing how much he lied was this whole classroom business in his head? Did Glass ever believe the stories he told really happened? These are the questions we are left with as the film draws its close.
        There is a lot of clever editing throughout the film but the best little bit is at the end. The cutting between wannabe-hero overlapping with scenes of the guy who became a hero just by doing his job.
        We are left with a lawsuit type scene where Glass is having to tell which articles where fabricated out of a list of suspicious ones.
        And that is it. It built up to this moment and all we know is that he has previously been fired and having to answer a few questions. We don't know (without trying to actually research the events of the film ourselves) whether Glass was taken to court, sued, anything?

        At the very end of the film we are left as it started, with a few little blurbs, this time on the 'real life' people who where in this film and what happened to them after these events occurred. This is the only bit about Glass afterwards that we find out but it is vague and pretty inconclusive.

        All-in-all it wasn't too bad a film.
        Hayden Christensen is actually quite good as Glass. I was dubious when I saw he was in this film as I didn't think he was anything special in the Star Wars film but he holds his own in this, maybe that's because it is a smaller film, smaller cast and he is not put too far out of his league or challenged. He plays both sides of Glass very well, quirky and popular at the beginning and then desperate and childlike at the end.
        The supporting cast, especially Peter Sarsgaard, also played their parts very well.
        The film is very dialogue heavy with no CGI to cover anything up so you see their acting skills in a lot more of a bare setting than in most other films. They have to be able to act to pull this off and they did.
        The film drags in places, especially at the beginning, but if you stick with it then it is far better in other places. I enjoyed the film but that is because this is more 'my kind of thing', if you like romance or action then forget it, don't pick this film up because you will not enjoy it.
        I rented this film, which I am glad of, because I didn't like this film enough to ever warrant wanting to buy it or even watch it again.
        Catch it if it is on T.V but don't go out your way for it.

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        • More +
          08.09.2006 07:28
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          Great acted true life story

          Shattered Glass is the true story of Stephen Glass, who worked for The New Republic. He is portrayed by Hayden Christensen in the film version, and if you watch the 60 minutes special that is included on the DVD, Christensen does an excellent job of creating Glass in the movie both physically and emotionally.

          The movie was released in 2004 and did not get much publicity or acclaim.

          I choose not to give much of the plot to you as it takes away from the story. If you do not know who Stephen Glass was you should not look up his name so you may enjoy the movie and it's climax. The ending is great and so is most of the climax on. The plot build up is a litte bit to sit through for some but is worth it in the end.

          The movie is a drama and is greatly acted throughout.

          I really enjoy the movie and recommend it to anyone who likes journalism or watching tv news perhaps.

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            01.11.2005 17:48
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            Fantastic insight into the advantages and drawbacks of journalism!

            Amirah Khan

            “Shattered Glass” – film review.

            Hayden Christensen? Who’s that?! Well folks, until I watched this incredible fact-based drama, I wouldn’t have known what a great actor he was! Now, I know all you girls are thinking what an ‘unsexy’ and geeky look he has with his dorky specs, and I know all you lads want a film that’s all guns, fire and blood, but let me tell you, DO NOT judge THIS book by its cover! Even without the Arnold Schwarzenegger action, the excellent story is one definitely worth watching!

            “A compelling true story about a scandal in American journalism that is also the story of the little boy that just wanted to please”.

            Stephen Glass, played by Christensen, is a young 25 year old American who is part of the writing staff for the ‘New Republic’ magazine. However, folks, do not think that this is just another boring film about a typical young American boasting on about how brilliantly clever he is. OH NO! It is, that Glass’ failure to stick to the facts leads to his, lets say, not so pleasant ending in his ‘career…’ (without giving the whole of the juicy story-line away) !It’s this, mmmmmm, ‘confusion’ of Glass’, that he is not able to differentiate between fact and fiction that leaves the poor chap in a ‘sticky situation’.

            Throughout this remarkable film, Glass believes that “journalism is the art of capturing behaviour” when it is, (believe it or not Glass) in fact, about truth.

            Glass’ ‘unique’ belief, about what journalism is, also probably explains why he is writing for one of Americans’ finest political magazines at such a young age… Maybe his astonishing ‘true’ stories are not so ‘factual’…? Or, is he just the most excellent young American journalist there ever was…? Oh, so many questions that you just need to know the answers to! Well, you’ll just have to watch it to find out!

            Things are going perfectly and running ever so smoothly for Glass. UNTIL! His ever so interesting article, ‘Hack Heaven’, which is about an on-line hacker who attacked the website of a large software company, grabs the immediate attention of an internet-based journal and writer, Adam Penenberg, who gets b*ll*ck*d by his editor for missing such a huge story! Yet, when Penenberg starts to look for the facts behind the story, he starts to suspect that Glass’ article may be one large fabrication! “A major software company with ONE phone-line???” Oh dear! Glass will have to do much better than that to convince Penenberg that “Jukt Micronics”, a ‘major firm company in California’ does actually exist (yeah right! Maybe in your head Glass!)

            I must admit, I feet a great amount of sympathy towards Glass, as he is, simply, the journalist who wants to be liked. As Glass himself said, in an interview with CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’, six years after the scandal broke, “I loved the electricity of people liking my stories. I wanted them to love the story so they would love me.” I really did feel for Glass! Quite an emotional and personal quotation from him.

            It is an extremely moving, strong and emotional drama that illustrates a young mans enthusiasm to work within the journalism industry and be recognised as a ‘success’. What’s even more astounding, and what makes the film more effective, is the fact that this is a true-story!

            So! What will happen to Glass’ unbelievable articles? Will Glass still be the best youngest journalist? Has Glass gone a bit too far with his ‘little white lies’…? Well folks, even if the story sounds confusing as to when it’s happening, it’s a fact not understood until the end, and it’s one of those films you just NEED to find an answer and ending for!

            To be totally honest with you, although I’d heard of it hundreds of times by the good old lecturers, I had no intention of watching “Shattered Glass” (Sssshh!). Also, as I said earlier, Christensen didn’t quite lure me with his actors’ charms. Nevertheless, it most definitely gave me a deep insight into some of the key and important roles and issues that journalists have to undertake, which is incredibly useful for me! So! All you enthusiastic journalist wana be’s, “Shattered Glass” is not only an immense fact-based drama, but also an incredibly interesting way to observe the advantages and disadvantages of a journalistic lifestyle!

            “Shattered Glass” is a great title and fits in exceedingly well with the story. However, I feel that the title is a bit deceiving as it has connotations of action. By comparing it to past fact-based dramas, I personally feel that the story had quite a slow and quite boring pace at times, which, I feel, is not reflected in the title (maybe I’m just being picky). With it being a Hollywood production, I feel that it could have included a bit more action (as maybe the title reflects?), or maybe it needed to be more dramatic in areas?!

            So! Christensen now has another fan, ME! Having never known who Christensen was, I feel that he deserves a round of applause! I thought he had quite a difficult character to play, but in fact he played the part exceptionally well!

            So! Although maybe a little confusing at the beginning, and maybe a bit slow in pace, I definitely recommend you watching “Shattered Glass”! Who knows, Hayden Christensen may have a long line of heart-throbbing fans after watching this brilliant performance (that includes you lads as well)!

            An overall verdict: A must see if you enthusiastic journalist wana be’s want that extra bit of insight into journalism. Remember! “Truth can be stranger than fiction and sometimes fiction can be more entertaining than truth” but that does have its limits…

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          • Product Details

            The rise and fall of Stephen Glass, the real-life journalist who ruined his career by writing fictional articles for The New Republic magazine. The film, set in scandal-frenzied Washington D.C. at the end of the Clinton era, portrays Glass (Hayden Christensen) as a mild-mannered, precocious, and charismatic journalist whose successes quickly accrue. Glass is a darling to the magazine's staff and to the sources who feed his stories. But when Christopher Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), replaces editor Michael Kelly, Glass finds his work under much greater scrutiny. Glass's writing has been suspect all along, and he is finally found out by an Internet-based media reporter (Steve Zahn) who does his own fact-checking. As more of the facts emerge, the film pits integrity and trust against Glass and his desire to entertain.