Does Shattered Glass
deserve comparison to All the President's Men
, as Roger Ebert suggests
? Sure, if the point of your comparison is how superficial Shattered Glass
is. As a glimpse into the world of journalism, or an exploration of how people like Stephen Glass and Jason Blair managed to pull it off for so long, or a query of whether they're even journalistic aberrations, Shattered Glass
doesn't even scratch the surface. (At one point, Glass, talking to a high school class, notes that the biggest hole in the fact-checking system is that it relies on the reporter's notes for many facts. Kind of a lame explanation for how the In-Flight Magazine of Air Force One missed a prominent reference to a non-existent corporation in one of its stories.) Still, except for an annoying school room framing device (which is somewhat forgivable in the end, but not entirely), the film is reasonably entertaining. Maybe not a waste of 10 bucks, but, if the holidays have you scrapped for cash, this is one you can wait and catch on cable.
That said, if you've ever worked in an office (not necessarily a newsroom), you might appreciate the film as a portrait of two easily recognized but authentic office characters -- the obsequious, well-liked self-promoter with "people skills," and the quiet, unassuming worker who is mistakenly pegged as aloof and never gets the credit he deserves. Now, let me say, believing as I do that there are very few journalistic saints, I strongly doubt that the real life Chuck Lane was as saintly and unfairly misunderstood as he's portrayed in this film. Nonetheless, as a fictional character who corresponds to authentic types in many offices, I liked him. Hayden Christensen is very good as Glass, but, he has Star Wars
and "Tiger Beat" to make him famous. So let's not talk about him. The real performance of note here is Peter Sarsgaard in the much less showy role of Lane. The film really cranks it up in its third act when the perspective changes from Glass's to Lane's, and that's due in no small part to Sarsgaard.