Based on a true story, ‘Shattered Glass’ attempts to be a film covering a media topic which is rarely covered; journalism. The controversial and opposing view which the public hold of journalists is tackled within the film.
Stephen Glass, played by aspiring actor Hayden Christensen, captures a charismatic charmer who is able to fool his fellow journalists into believing his phony stories are utterly truthful.
As the film progresses it is revealed that Glass’ ‘remarkable’ talent to find and produce unusual and entertaining news stories comes from his ability to write fraudulent articles.
Working at ‘The New Republic’ (TNR), based in Washington D.C., Stephen Glass nearly shatters the reputation of the magazine. TNR is a highly renowned magazine which relies on its accurate content and serious tone.
Christensen is joined by Hank Azaria and Peter Sarsgaard who play opposing good cop, bad cop characters. Michael Kelly (Azaria) plays a well respected, strong leader who is more than willing to stand up and fight for his writers. When Kelly is given the sack, Chuck Lance (Sarsgaard) unwelcomingly takes his place.
As Stephen Glass’ article ‘Hack Heaven’ flags up issues of fraud, Chuck Lance doubts Glass’ credibility as a journalist. Loyal friends and fellow writers deny the possibility of Stephen being a phony. As Glass’ life crumbles and cracks around him Lance takes the role of the good guy by restoring the honour of journalism.
The film, set in 1998, tells a story where the message is timeless. It teaches all wishing journalists to never take a risk by printing something inaccurate and dishonest, no matter how much you want your writing to be noticed.
With Tom Cruise working behind the scenes as executive producer it is surprising this film is not more renowned. Cruise appears to keep a low key profile around the film, however, his name is revealed in the beginning credits exposing his work in the film.
‘Shattered Glass’ can be merited for its originality and courage to cover a truly tricky subject. Cinematically, the film visually from the very start grabs the audience’s attention with the slow motioned pace and voiceover welcoming watchers. Not only does it begin with this fascinating sequence, it ends with it too. Although, ‘Shattered Glass’ uses innovation it does however lack real depth in its narrative. The plain, basic storyline may cause any reader not interested in journalism to bore extremely quickly.