First day home! Laziness abounds as I slept til 11:30 and didn't change out of my pajamas until...well as of now I'm kinda still wearing them. Tee-hee. Anyway, the actor(?) that is Hayden Christensen puzzles me. Well, now he does. Before this morning/afternoon, I saw him as most people do, largely responsible for turning Darth Vader into a giant talking vagina. Sure, in the end George Lucas carries the brunt of that blame but the Astonishing Wooden-Man playing Anakin Skywalker definitely did his fair share to kill the character, and with various other shitty turns in movies like Jumper and Awake, it's no wonder he has the reputation he does.
So what the hell is up with Shattered Glass?
And Hayden Christensen was...good in it.
Not even just good, he was really great. The film centers on the true story of hotshot young journalist Stephen Glass and his career writing brilliant stories for this magazine called The New Republic, also known as "The in-flight magazine of Air Force One" in the late nineties. Everybody loves Stephen, he's funny, bashful, charismatic and his stories are amazing...and also completely bullshit. Turns out Stevie made up more than half the stories he ever wrote, dodging fact checkers, creating fake websites, and basically exhibiting the behavior of a pathological liar.
"Yeah, I've got this story about the President having sex with goats. It sounds fishy but it's totally true. I've got the sources right here! ...But they're all out of town right now. And also the President told me to tell you he won't talk to anyone but me, because I'm in his secret club, but you can check all the facts at this website: www.iamnotalyingshitbag.org...for reals"
So he gets found out by Steve Zahn and Rosario Dawson who work at a (gasp) internet news site. Pffft, those'll never last. They figure out this story he writes on hackers is crap and it all spirals out of control from there. Admittedly, the whole cast is great, Peter Sarsgaard as the editor Stephen turns everyone against, Chloe Sevigny as the reporter colleague who wants to believe Stephen is telling the truth and Hank Azaria as Stephen's old boss. So it's strong performances throughout but Christensen just shines as Stephen, making you fall for his easy charm and puppy face as he nervously asks his boss "did I do something wrong? Are you mad at me?" Knowing full well he's blowing smoke in everyone's face. We watch him undergo a crazed meltdown, screaming that his stories are true and that he did nothing wrong and you can't help but wonder if he really DOES think that and there's something seriously wrong with him. Hayden "I haaaaaate you!!" Christensen is that good in this movie.
Which of course leads me to, what the hell, Hayden? This movie came out sandwiched between Episode 2 and 3, and you've done shittiness since then, so the claim cannot be made that you've learned and grown as an actor, this movie's seven years old! How I am supposed to make declarations to your rampant retardation when you turn in such an awesome performance in this movie?!
Maybe I am judging you too harshly. After all, your body of work is pretty small as of yet, maybe with time we'll get another Shattered Glass and you can show people that you actually know what you're doing occas-(checks IMDB)-Jumper 2?! Fuck you, Hayden Christensen.
(ps. Shattered Glass gets four suspiciously falsified catapults out five)
Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard): "He handed us fiction after fiction, and we printed them all as fact. Just because we found him entertaining."