Billy Ryan's Shattered Glass is pretty damned good. Hayden Christensen, recent Anakin Skywalker, shows he can act well as Stephen Glass, the New Republic star writer who fabricated 27 of his 42 articles (not that I'm surprised--Lucas has misused whole lists of great actors, from Terence Stamp to Brian Blessed to Rena Owen to Peter Cushing). But the actor that held my attention and for my money owns the film is Peter Sarsgaard as Chuck Lane, the dour TNR editor who takes over the beloved Michael Kelly (played by Hank Azaria) then go on to pick apart the career of one of his most celebrated reporters.
We don't get earth-shattering journalism on the level of All The President's Men--Glass' articles are mainly entertainment pieces, not some deep political scandal--nor is this some psychological study probing why Glass did what he did. But we do get some sense of just how important a journalist's regard for truth can be, and how much the prestigious magazine had to lose when Glass' fabrications come to light, and this is mostly thanks to Sarsgaard's low-key performance. He's captain at the helm of a famed but leaking ship, and the drama of the film is in his realizing the ship has leaks, finding them out, and plugging them. I like it that it took a dull, unconfident drudge to dig out what his popular predecessor could not--that sometimes it isn't one's skill at public relations, but dogged will and the inability to let go that gets the job done.
I do have one question though: where was Stanley Kauffman and what was he doing when all this was going down?