" We misread the landscape when we think of it as pastoral or pretty. There is a darker side. "
— Andy Goldsworthy, Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time

MRQE Top Critic

The American Astronaut

A cult phenom, with the longest mis-told joke and The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast —Marty Mapes (DVD review...)

Cult fave American Astronaut now on DVD

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In 1998, Stephen Glass was exposed as a fraud. As a writer for The New Republic, he fabricated, in whole or in part, more than half of the stories he had written for that magazine.

The story of his fraud has particular interest to me. I was a columnist for The Colorado Daily, and I used one of Glass’ stories, “Spring Breakdown” as a primary source for one of my columns. Seeing the net close around Glass in this movie was particularly satisfying.

What kind of a man would do such a thing, and how did he get away with it? These are two of the questions that Shattered Glass is good at answering. Hayden Christensen gives Glass a sociopathic desire to please and a gift for storytelling. His colleagues, for their part, are so eager to work with such a talented, interesting writer that they refuse to believe any wrongdoing.

Some of the other questions raised by Glass’ crime, notably “Why?”, may never be answered.

Although Shattered Glass leaves little room for criticism — it’s a tight little drama with good performances — it’s hard to recommend very strongly because it’s not a particularly cinematic story. There are no car chases or sword fights. There is no passionate embrace. It’s simply a character study, and film is not the most obvious medium to tell the story. Those who ration their trips to the theater may safely save this one for video.

Nevertheless, outstanding performances by Christensen and Peter Sarsgaard (playing an editor caught between Glass’ ethical lapse and his popularity in the office) justify this production.