Nov 052003
 
Authors: Jason Kosena, Chris Ortiz

What Stephen Glass did at the New Republic did not make headline

news, it did not call for a four-page retraction in the New York

Times like the actions of Jayson Blair, but Glass’ actions nearly

brought down a small but prestigious magazine publication and

showed how vulnerable the public and editors can be to the

deception of corrupted journalists. Glass went well beyond Blair.

He not only elaborated stories and sources, he simply made them up.

He went as far as trying to pull off phony business cards and Web

sites.

People outside of the journalism world might ask themselves what

the relevance of Glass’ story is, but the movie “Shattered Glass”

makes it clear. What Glass did didn’t bring down the magazine, it

didn’t make headline news, the journalism world wasn’t brought to

its knees like in the Blair case, but it did quietly show how much

power and responsibility lies behind the keyboard of a journalist,

and how easily that power can be corrupted.

Hayden Christensen portrays Stephen Glass, the young, ambitious

freelance feature writer for the New Republic. Glass is depicted as

a person who is quick to complement his co-workers and is quicker

to say he is sorry to his editors for his mistakes. Well, at least

the mistakes they caught.

In the movie, Glass was the guy everyone liked. He had the

charisma and charm with his female coworkers and entertained his

peers with the wild and exciting stories he was working on and

making up. Glass, behind his big Harry Potter glasses and his

oxford polo shirts and crisp ironed khakis, was well-liked by his

editor Michael Kelly (played by the always dependable Hank Azaria)

and was a tough act to follow when writers were sharing the stories

they were working on.

But behind Glass was lies and deception. During his tenure at

the New Republic, he fabricated dozens of stories, and not only did

he have his co-workers believe the lies, he believed in them

himself. When a reporter (Steve Zahn) starts following Glass, he

finds that even basic facts were all made up in the creative mind

of Glass.

The movie has a fast pace that allows the viewer to understand

the sometimes-complicated nature of journalism and at the same time

view the progression of the journalistic process that tracked down

the truth behind Glass and his lies.

“Shattered Glass” is a great showcase of a marginal story put on

the center stage. This conflict is what drives the action and

suspense of the story line. Glass, in an attempt to cover up his

lies, goes to extreme lengths and creates even bigger lies in the

process.

“Shattered Glass” is a good, fast-paced film that has an

underlying moral message behind the script. The film is not as

dramatic as previous journalism movies such as “All the President’s

Men” and “The Paper,” but it is enough to carry the movie through

its 90 minutes and give the audience a hero in the editor that

challenges Glass, Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard) and an antihero,

Glass, that people can sympathize with.

 

Shattered Glass

Directed by Bill y Ray

Starring:

Steve Zahn

Peter Sarsgaard

Hank Azaria

Hayden Christensen

Select cities Nov. 7

 

 

 

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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