Shattered Glass [2003]

Shattered Glass is the best film about journalism since All the President's Men. If that seems like lofty praise, consider this: In telling the true story of fallen journalist and pathological liar Stephen Glass, writer-director Billy Ray had to thoroughly and believably demonstrate how Glass--played in a pitch-perfect performance by Hayden Christensen--could single-handedly betray the trust of vigilant editors, writers, fact-checkers, and copyeditors while he falsified numerous highly praised articles as a hot, seemingly gifted reporter for The New Republic magazine in the late 1990s. Making an assured directorial debut, Ray brilliantly explores the delicate office politics that allowed for Glass's ongoing deception, which was diligently exposed by a reporter (Steve Zahn) from Forbes Online Tool, thus toppling Glass's tower of lies and setting a noble precedent for online journalism. From Glass's ingratiating psychopathology to the anguish of TNR's then-unpopular editor (Peter Sarsgaard) as he discovers the extent of Glass's wrongdoing, Shattered Glass is a riveting, perfectly cast study of ambition gone sour, countered by the nobility of respectable journalists in the wake of a worst-case scenario. --Jeff Shannon

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