Sight and Sound’s recent list of the greatest movies of all time was basically a re-jigging of the same old classics which critics and audiences always cite as ‘the greatest’. There’s nothing wrong with those lists. Just how many times do we need to hear that Vertigo, Citizen Kane and The Godfather are pretty great and you should check them out? Here is a list – in no particular order – of my favourite movies that don’t get all the attention – some that a lot of people have never even heard of.
Hopefully you hill hear and see these ‘10 Great Movies That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of’.
10. Shattered Glass (Dir.: Billy Ray, 2003)
Billy Ray’s astonishing true-story drama centred on a journalist writing fictitious stories may not seem like seem like a particularly riveting experience but terrific performances and Ray’s assured direction make this a compelling film.
Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) is a young twenty-something reporter for prestigious American magazine The New Republic. Glass is affable, funny and beloved by his co-workers. When Glass writes a too-good-to-be-true article about a teenage hacker, online reporters (Steve Zahn and Rosario Dawson) reveal that it really is.
Hayden Christensen gives the performance of his career in this film. Those who wrote the young Canadian Darth Vader off on the basis of his performances in the Star Wars prequels and in Jumper, need to simply watch this performance to be convinced of his talent. Christensen’s Glass is a manipulative Machiavelli – the movie nearly goes as far as portraying Glass as a sociopath. Glass is conniving, dedicated and fascinating. His crimes are essentially victim-less but the fascination lies with a character who convincingly manipulates everyone around him. Peter Sarsgaard gives a wonderful counter-performance as the young editor who exposes the truth despite his vilification from his staff, particularly Caitlin (Chloë Sevigny).
Ray’s real achievement is his refusal to sensationalise the real-life events or delve into Glass’s background. His actions are presented and the consequences are dealt with. This is effectively a two character piece between Christensen and Sarsgaard where the latter must see past Glass’s manipulations to uncover the truth and maintain the integrity of his magazine.
Shattered Glass may not seem like particularly thrilling stuff but Ray delivers a fascinating look into the world of journalism and into the machinations of a manipulative sociopath.
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