Remember Hayden Christensen? No, not
the Hayden nominated in 2003 for Worst Performance for "Star Wars: Episode
II - Attack of the Clones." I'm talking about the Hayden Christensen
nominated the year before for Best Supporting Actor for "Life as a House."
It's the same guy? Well, the actor in
"Shattered Glass" better resembles the promise and potential he demonstrated
with "Life as a House" (which was filmed after "Star Wars" but released
before). He at last has a chance to demonstrate that his stilted Anakin
Skywalker performance was more a matter of poor direction or
first-time-out-the-gate jitters than a lack of talent.
For me, "Shattered Glass" counts as a
historical film -- and a very good one at that -- not only because it
represents a specific historical incident (albeit one that occurred a mere
five years ago) but also because it helps mirror the attitudes of the time
it presents. In 1998, we were still on the upswing of the heady Internet
boom. The dot-com companies were still on the upswing and starting to flex
their muscle (and in fact, it was an online magazine that exposed Glass'
fraud and brought him down). But also, many were companies with fly-by-night
schemes that managed to succeed because, like Stephen Glass, they weren't
exposed to the scrutiny necessary to ensure that they weren't pulling the
wool over our eyes.
"Shattered Glass" demonstrates terrific
acting among its lead as well as the supporting and ensemble cast. Hayden
Chistensen and Peter Sarsgaard will both make my
long lists for Best Actor and Supporting Actor respectively, though it still
remains to be seen whether they will make the final cut once I have to
whittle it down to five. The film will definitely make my top five
historicals of the year. And though it sounds trite and somewhat diminishes
the film, if I do have a category for Sexiest Cast (a.k.a. Ensemble Cast You
Would Most Like to Play Strip Poker With), this might make that cut as well.
(But I probably won't have that category.)
My grade: A -
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