Hayden Christensen is the very incarnation of smarm as Stephen Glass, hot-shot writer for The New Republic. His stories are all fabulous, seemingly too good to be true. Which is, in fact, the problem. His tissue of lies begins to unravel when Steve Zahn, reporter for Forbes Digital, tries to follow up one of Christensen’s articles, and can’t find a single legitimate fact. Peter Sarsgaard is Chuck Lane, Christensen’s editor, and he begins to smell a very big rat.
Utterly absorbing stuff. The fall from grace has the structure of a tragedy, but Christensen’s Glass is such a skin-crawling phony that his destruction carries the deep satisfaction of black comedy. Christensen’s oil is perfectly foiled by Sarsgaard, who has the dead-eyed, exhausted integrity of the honest man who has already seen it all far too many times. This is a film is small details and quiet conversations, and it flies by with the pace of an action thriller.
The soundtrack is 5.1, but given the nature of the film, the difference between 5.1, 2.0 andmono would be barely detectable. There is virtually no background sound at all — there is some music, and just about everything else is low-key dialogue. There is, therefore, no environmental sound to speak of. The dialogue is reproduced with perfectly clean sound, though sometimes spoke so quietly that you’ll be backing up and hitting the subtitles. The left-right separation, at the odd time that it is called for, is good.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is extremely sharp. There is also no edgeenhancement or grain. The colours are vibrant and extremely strong. Blacks and flesh tones arealso well nigh perfect. The only fly in the ointment is that the print isn’t perfectly clean. A minorcavil, of course. This is a fine-looking disc.
The commentary by writer/director Billy Ray and Chuck Lane is a very interesting mix, sinceit covers both the behind-the-scenes aspects of the film, and its relation to what actuallyhappened. An excellent choice to go with both the creative and the real-world side of things. The60 Minutes interview with Stephen Glass shows just how perfectly Christensen nailedthe self-pitying smarm of the man. Attack of the Clones to the contrary, the man canactually act. Select the Lions Gate logo for Shattered Glass and Girl with a PearlEarring trailers. The menu is animated, as are the transitions and the (brief) intro, but thereis no sound.
Action-free, very quiet, and utterly rivetting, with good sound and picture, and interestingextras (though not many). Definitely one to catch.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- 60 Minutes Inteview with Stephen Glass