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The Glass House shatters
Peter Iovina/Columbia Pictures
WHERE IS MY TALENT? WHAT HAPPENED TO IT? Leelee Sobieski may
look like Helen Hunt but she's lacking the talent
Leelee Sobieski unable to carry film
The Glass House
Starring: Leelee Sobieski, Stellan Skarsgard, Diane Lane
Directed By: Daniel Sackheim
2 stars (out of five)
By Dave Hudakoc
The current trend toward younger and younger stars on the big screen hasn't necessarily coincided with an increase in the quality of movies produced. Sure the young stars and starlets have the same fame and fortunes of many of their older counterparts, but there is one huge difference they aren't as good.
The Glass House is the latest film to headline young, up-and-comer Leelee Sobieski (Eyes Wide Shut, Deep Impact). Sobieski plays Ruby Baker, the typical California 16-year-old whose life is turned upside down when her parents tragically die in a car accident. After being adopted by her god parents, she soon realizes her new guardians aren't as perfect as they seem.
During many scenes, Sobieski's character must deal with the intense issue of losing parents at a young age. She shines during these difficult scenes. However, she loses her touch when it comes to the more suspenseful areas of dialogue and bores the audience at peak moments of tension.
Still, Sobieski is a competent actor, despite looking and sounding exactly like Helen Hunt. However, the loss of her monotone voice would surely make her plainly-scripted dialogue much more captivating.
What saves Sobieski from embarrassing herself at attempting a lead role is the rest of the cast. Stellan Skarsgrd and Diane Lane make pleasing, yet shaky performances as Sobieski's new guardians.
Skarsgrd, recognizable to those who have seen Good Will Hunting, plays his role perfectly at first creeping out the audience and striking fear through his every move. Unfortunately, the script deteriorates his character's strength. Skarsgrd's performance, although excellent during the first half of the film, fades during the last half and ends up as weak as his character itself.
Diane Lane goes through the same process. She is intriguing to watch at the beginning of the film because she's trying desperately to hide her evil side. However, once the mystery is revealed, the audience loses interest in her character and her performance.
Daniel Sackheim's direction is quite good. With the aid of art director Sarah Knowles, the modern set design, in combination with the quickly cut car accident sequences allow for the suspense to build easily on screen.
Sackheim also does an excellent job preparing the audience for the intense and dramatic parts of the film. The weak-hearted might be inclined to tear-up during the eulogy for Sobieski's parents, but Sackhein ruins this moment by quickly cutting away.
Had he held on for just a bit longer and allowed the audience to truly feel sorry for Ruby Baker, maybe we would have cared a bit more about the suspense that followed.
The theme of a young child losing her parents in a tragic car accident seems like a good premise for a film. Undoubtedly, Sobieski could have pulled off an amazing performance had The Glass House only been about the loss of parents and not turned into a suspense/thriller with the introduction of insane guardians.
Unfortunately, The Glass House turns from a drama to a suspense film and, at that point, all interest is lost. Sobieski is unable to carry this feature and the script does nothing to contribute to the film's overall success.