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GLASS HOUSE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
After their parents are killed in a car accident, Ruby (Leelee Sobieski) and her brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan) are sent to live with Terry and Erin Glass (Stellan Skarsgard & Diane Lane), friends of their parents, appointed by their wills as guardians. The kids have to move from the Valley to Malibu, but it’s not just the new surroundings that have them troubled. Ruby believes Terry may be ogling her. Her concerns are only heightened by mysterious late night phone calls and Diane’s odd behaviour. Ruby decides to take her concerns to the lawyer handling the estate (Bruce Dern) – but can she trust him? Can she trust anyone?

A telling moment arrives in The Glass House when Ruby (Leelee Sobieski) is accused by her teacher of plagiarism. Perhaps scriptwriter Wesley Strick was doing her homework. There’s scarcely an original thought in the whole film, from its obvious references to films like North by Northwest to its often painful, by-the-numbers dialogue. The tale is told in none too subtle fashion, and by the time the quite ludicrous ending rolls around, any empathy for the characters has long since dissipated. The fact that the guardians are called Glass and live in a house entirely composed of glass is only the start of the ham fisted goings-on. On the plus side, it looks great, with the cool blues of the Malibu abode creating an eerie atmosphere, particularly when it’s raining - which happens a lot. The performances are pretty good considering the material the cast have to work with. Leelee Sobieski makes the most of a dreadfully flawed part. She manages to give Ruby a kind of quiet dignity and steely determination, even in the face of the script’s worst excesses. Stellan Skarsgard also tries hard, but I had trouble buying him as a bad guy, and not a particularly bright one at that. Several ridiculous scenes certainly don’t help his cause. Diane Lane gets little opportunity as Erin, but Trevor Morgan has some nice moments as Rhett. The Glass House is a prime example of abundant style with very little substance. To paraphrase the old saying, this is one glass that isn’t even half full.
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

GLASS HOUSE, THE (M)
(US)

CAST: Diane Lane, Leelee Sobieski, Stellan Skarsgård, Rita Wilson, Michael O'Keefe

PRODUCERS: Michael I. Rachmil, Neal H. Moritz

DIRECTOR: Daniel Sackheim

SCRIPT: Wesley Strick

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alar Kivilo

EDITOR: Howard E. Smith

MUSIC: Christopher Young

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Gary Steele

RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 1, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: May 15, 2002







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