Friday, October 14, 2016
THE GLASS HOUSE (2001)
Directed By: Daniel Sackheim
Written By: Wesley Strick
Cinematogrpahy By: Alar Kivilo
Editor: Howard E. Smith
Music By: Christopher Young
Cast: Leelee Sobieski, Stellan Skarsgard, Diane Lane, Trevor Morgan, Kathy Baker, Michael O’Keefe, Bruce Dern, Chris Noth, Carly Pope, Agnes Bruckner, January Jones, China Shavers, Michael Patrick Chan
*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
When Ruby Baker's parents are killed in a car accident, she and her brother, Rhett, must travel to Malibu, to live with Terrence and Erin Glass, their former neighbors. At first, all seems well. Ruby is making new friends at school and Rhett is getting more video games and flashy toys than he's ever had in his life. When Ruby speaks to her family's estate lawyer, he tells her that her parents have left Rhett and her $4 million. Suddenly, Ruby begins to notice odd behavior from Terry and Erin.
For why? This move makes very little sense. As it overplays most of it's material like either a lifetime movie or something that is intentionally campy.
The original cut ran for almost 180 minutes before the majority of this footage was deleted during post-production reducing the run-time to 106 minutes. So there might have been a better film that made more sense or felt more dynamic. Even though most original cuts run long.
As it has quite a pedigree behind he scenes but it seems like they are all in it for the money as the film almost feels like a cop out or something formulaic meant to sell and shockingly gets made. That seems like a failed attempt at a teen thriller. That majorly lacks anything that might be of interest for it's intended audience.
It's not the first of it's kind. This is the type of movie where everything that happens is told in the trailer. Which is a shame. As there are some good ideas here. The problem is that instead of mysterious and subtle it becomes all Too obvious too soon. If this film like any others didn't end up showing us all it's cards early on.
Films like these might have turned out decent, but since they don't even. Even though they are thrillers. They are absent of mystery, suspense, tension and even thrills. So what else is left? Really bad melodrama.
Now with this film. It could have been that all of her suspicions are really in her head and causes more damage the. Is necessary. While the adoptive parents are trying to do the right things even if at times a bit shady. As they never had kids and now they have teenagers. Where every time she she thinks she has found a clue. It really leads to an innocent misunderstanding and in the end she might kill or maim someone because she choose to believe her own conspiracy or there might be a secret to be held, but it's not the one she suspects. (This review was written before I watched the film THE INVITATION) The film ARLINGTON ROAD for instance used suspicion of a conspiracy originally and creatively, this film while not having the same brain trust. Could have been just as affective.
This film you can smell the guilt as soon as the characters appear. The forever sweating character played by Stellan Skarsgard and Diane lane. His character goes from charming to sinister and conniving so fast that there is never a mystery to his guilt or not. We understand he is becoming undone as he is at the end of his rope, but after his first appearance the film seems to spend it’s time showcasing his downfall expediently.
Then there is the ending where one character like a horror movie villain can't simply just die. So we have to go into overkill.
The only reason this movie is worth watching is if you are a fan of Leelee Sobieski. It was really her first leading role at the time. Too bad she didn't have better material. In Fact she rarely did. I believe she unfortunately gained fame when there weren't really any roles written for her type of actress. This was the best they could really find. Unless she wanted to be a scream queen in horror films. At this point she is one of theirs actresses who appeared in a bunch of different films though you wonder what happened to? I always felt she resembled a young Helen Hunt. As his film was meant to test out the buzz she had as the next big thing at the time.
This movie also seemed to take glee in showing off her body. Which I guess makes sense as she suspects her foster father of being a pervert and later we see her suspicions were right. As he looks at her and salivates over her like she is a steak. Though here it makes the film seem like it is going. For exploitation even of the filmmakers were going for titilation more for a teenage audience.
The film feels so remote that it constantly feels small scale. So that it feels both realistic and fabricated. Where you wonder and have so many questions of logic. That are never answered, but are needed for the films story to work.
This is written by noted screenwriter Wesley Strick (CAPE FEAR, THE TIE THAT BINDS) most of his screenplays are characters coming apart or having deep secrets. While being haunted by their pasts. Take for instance the tie that binds which was about the adoption of a serial killer couples child and the serial killers escaping and wanting to get their child back. This film is a little more complex. Though again this film is a mystery that isn't too hard to figure out and you can't even take pleasure as it goes through the motions with atmosphere or performance.
Premiered in the same weekend as HARDBALL, also starring Diane Lane. Hard Ball was #1 at the box office and The Glass House #2 that weekend.
This was the first film that would be theatrically released after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.
This is a film that had it been made today would not only have been more gruesome, but probably not made it to theaters. It would probably be made more independently and premiered on streaming
Like it's title everything is shiny, crisp but also transparent.
This might have worked if this film was a tv-movie. There there wouldn't. E so much invested into it. Though what makes this film even more disappointing is that it has such a talented cast.