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GLASS HOUSE, THE
Reviewed January 14th, 2002 by Brian White

 

Let me get it off my back right away: I pretty much hated the Glass House. However, if I were a 15 or 16 year old girl, I would have liked the movie quite a bit. If I was a 15 or 16 year old boy dating the girl mentioned above, I would have liked the movie even more because the star, Leelee Sobieski, wears tight, skimpy clothes through most of the movie, and a bikini at one point. So, as entertainment for teens, this isnít all that bad. Itís much better than some of the crap we used to watch at VCR parties on a Friday night in junior high.

Hereís the deal: Ruby Baker is a bit of a rebel, sneaking around behind her parentsí back. The world sheís rebelling against comes crashing down around her when she discovers, upon returning from a night out, that her parents have been killed in a car accident. Ruby and her younger brother are taken in to the care of the Glasses, family friends from many years earlier.

The Glasses are made of money, it would seem. They have a rockiní house, with everything that would impress a kid. Iíve got to laugh at the fact that the seemingly comfortable world from which the kids come is supposed to contrast the stark, but affluent surroundings of the Glass house. Anyway, all is not as seems. The Glassí get pretty creepy. The Glassí turn out to be really screwed up, and theyíre after the kidsí inheritance at any cost. Of course, the house would cost more than the kidsí inheritance, but big deal.

Basically the movie is the evolution of the creepiness, and the helplessness of Rubyís situation. It is not blatantly violent until the ridiculous climax. I suspect the reasons for this stem from hubris on the part of the filmmakers, trying to recreate Hitchcock (and donít get me started on the Hamlet parallel). A misplaced pretentiousness surrounds this flick.

Sobieskiís performance is quite good. I donít really know that her character is a believable kid, but the actress does an admirable job with this fare. I hope Stellan Skarsgard, from Breaking Waves, got a big fat check. Heís pretty dark and creepy, which is what the film required. If a lesser actor had taken this on, this would have been a much funnier movie.

Having said all this, the movie is shot quite well. There are lovely shots of the sunset, and the house is lit and photographed quite well. The Glass House is set in Malibu, and the natural beauty of that area is captured nicely.

So you have a really great looking DVD here. The 2.35:1 transfer is really crisp, and it represents what is a well-shot film. The Glass House is a cookie-cutter thriller, and it has a respectable budget. Thus, the DVD looks pretty good. A 1.33:1, full-frame transfer resides on the flip side.

The Dolby Digital surround mix is quite active. You have your fair-share of thunderstorms, so you get plenty of rumble behind you.

For extras, you get a feature-length, scene-specific commentary from director Daniel Sackheim, and screenwriter Wesley Strick. There is a deleted scene, with the option to hear more commentary. The trailer is also included.

 

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