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Clear As Mud

by Andrew Green

Here's a movie about a journalist. I dunno. I got nothing else.

True story, though.

Shattered Glass (2003)

Netflix description:
"This fact-based film depicts the rise and fall of disgraced journalist Stephen Glass, who was a staff writer at The New Republic and contributed stories to Rolling Stone and other magazines. Glass fabricated many of his stories, which led to his downfall. A Forbes.com technology reporter uncovered the truth about Glass's deception."

So, this hot-shot young reporter (Hayden Christensen) lands a big-time job at some hoity-toity political magazine in Washington DC. He starts submitting a bunch of hilarious and bizarre feature stories about things like hacker conventions and frat boy Republican debauchery. Young Stephen is so charming and just smart as a whip! EVERYONE loves him! That is, until it turns out that he's been making all of this crap up.

What follows is a fascinating film about an editor's work to uncover all of Stephen's fabrications and expose them. Here we see a tale about the dangers of getting too emotionally attached to coworkers and the problems that come with a boss who's all buddy-buddy with his underlings. Stephen is able to pull some big ones over on his editors at first because they just trust him too much. Even when suspicions are aroused, Stephen's fellow reporters rush to his defense. No one wants to believe that he's a manipulative liar.

Plenty of drama to be found in this movie, and great acting on all fronts (I especially liked Peter Sarsgaard as the editor who finally busts Glass -- he's always cool). I've known fellers like Stephen Glass, and they're all the same. Hayden Christensen does a surprisingly good job of portraying one. Maybe I'm biased in being particularly drawn into this film, seeing as how I'm a reporter, but I think most folks ought to enjoy this picture, anyway. Oh, and it's all a true story.

4 out of 5.