Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2003: Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass

Peter Sarsgaard did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for and winning several critical awards, for portraying Charles Lane in Shattered Glass.

Shattered Glass is an effective film about a journalist Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) who seems to have made up most of his stories.

Peter Sarsgaard portrays at first just another one of the writers at the The New Republic the publication that Glass writes for. Sarsgaard does not do too much in these early scene other than establish well that Lane is not impressed or entertained as much by Stephen as the rest of the staff seems to be. Sarsgaard is good because he does not show Lane to be openly hostile toward Stephen or anything, but rather just makes it clear that he is not impressed by the very popular Glass. Sarsgaard handles this properly by suggesting an opposition to the man, while certainly not being antagonistic either. 

Lane quickly is chosen to be the new editor of the magazine though after the older editor had a falling out with the owner of the magazine. Sarsgaard is good in the brief scene showing Lane considering taking the position. It is realistically portrayed by Sarsgaard in a wholly non flashy fashion. He shows most certainly an interest in the position, but does well in portraying the hesitations of Lane knowing well that the staff will not take too much of a liking to the decision since the previous editor was well liked. Sarsgaard's performance here early on is understated, but well placed setting up Lane's place in the film properly.

Sargaard becomes far more prominent when the questions regarding the truth behind one of Glass's articles comes up. Sarsgaard is excellent in portraying the way that Lane takes to the accusations towards Glass's reporting. Sarsgaard again stays very understated, and conveys well the fact that Lane tries his best to stay with his duties as editor which is to try and support his writer. Sarsgaard plays the different feelings in Lane effectively portraying both his sense of duty as he calmly tries to reassure Glass, but does well to create an underlying feelings of doubt within Lane.

The later parts of the film are almost dominated by Sarsgaard as Lane as the likelihood of Glass's story being truthful becomes less and less. Sarsgaard and Christensen have a terrific dynamic in the scenes where Lane investigates Glass's story first hand. Christensen portrays Glass a very much a liar who just tries to avoid looking at anything through constant excuses as well as seeming more and more desperate as he is asked more questions. Sarsgaard portrays Lane as basically the opposite as Lane stays reasonably reserved as he becomes more and more inquisitive and incisive as Glass's story does not add up.

Sarsgaard is very good as slowly Lane pushes harder on harder on Glass. At first Sarsgaard portrays just the right degree of reservation due to how the other workers view Glass. Sarsgaard slowly yet powerfully shows that Lane cannot hold back any more. His scene where he finally fires Glass confronting him directly is terrifically played by Sarsgaard portraying well the incredible disgust he feels at a main who entirely disregarded even the slightest notion of journalistic integrity. Sarsgaard directly fulfills the role of Charles Lane, who ends up being the moral center of the film, with a strength that slowly grows in a marvelous fashion during the course of the film. 


RatedRStar said...

ive never seen this film unfortunately, when I saw the picture I thought Peter was about 19 years old lol he looks so young and kinda um psychotic if you get what I mean in a cool way =D

Michael Patison said...

I really want to see this now. I'm also glad that you liked Hayden Christensen (you've now ranked him at #6 for the year). I always hope that normally terrible actors aren't dreadful in everything so I'm glad that he doesn't suck in this. I've always had trouble imagining that he was any good because of his track record.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Love this movie. Sarsgaard and Christensen were both excellent. Still, I'm not entirely sure if Christensen's performance was a fluke, or he just let his ego get the better of him in later films. I'll forgive him for Star Wars, considering everyone sucked in the prequals.

mrripley said...

I loved hayden this year, sometimes a good script,good cast and a solid director can make people who need that help better than in less capable hands.