Plot: What’s it about?
Ruby Baker (Leelee Sobieski) and her younger brother Rhett have just went through a horrific ordeal, as both of their parents were killed in an accident. The two siblings are soon moved to Malibu and will reside with Terrence Glass (Stellan Skarsgard) and his wife Erin (Diane Lane), old friends of their parents. This is no orphanage either, as the Glass house is a posh mansion with all the trimmings, including an almost all glass exterior that is gorgeous. Although the kids are shaken and uncertain, things start off very well with Ruby making all sorts of new friends and Rhett having a blast with all of his new toys, but the house is not as serene as it seems. After some time passes, Ruby notices some odd behavior from Terrence and Erin, but chalks it up to her imagination, at least she does at first. But when the family lawyer (Bruce Dern) informs her of a four million dollar trust fund in her and Rhett’s names, she sees a clearer picture in front of her. Is it all just in her mind, or are her new hosts trying to pave the way to collect the millions, first by making sure the parents are gone, then the kids too?
The theaters have been overtaken by thrillers in recent years, so finding a good one has been hard, since there is so much content to wade through. But for fans of the genre, this is not all bad news, as it means the selection is broader and more often than not, you can find some more than decent entertainment with ease. The Glass House is such an example, as it is by no means a genre classic, but it is a good movie and while predictable, fans of thrillers should have fun, if just to soak in the visuals. The writing is average and never really pushes into new directions, but it is solid and provides some decent twists, though not ones we haven’t seen before. Yes, some fresh injections of writing would have been most welcome, but if you’re pining for a new thriller, The Glass House should suffice. Plus the visuals are superb, from the lush production design to the gorgeous cinematography, which adds to the value of the picture, of course. If for no other reason, I’d watch this again just to watch Leelee Sobieski in action, I could never tire of that. So don’t expect perfection here, but if you’re interested, a rental is more than justified.
Ah…as one of Hollywood’s rising young talents, Leelee Sobieski has a bright future ahead of her, though her current roster is a little lacking. She has been in some great projects of course, but she also has some real shiners on her record, though her work is not to blame. Even in the worst of the films, Sobieski delivers a likable, solid performance and of course, this is one of the main reasons she is moving up the ladder at a brisk pace. In this case, she takes a cookie cutter character and adds as much depth as she can, which improves the film tenfold, I think. She can only do so much with thin material, but she takes charge and elevates the film a couple notches, so her talent is more than obvious here. Other films with Sobieski include Deep Impact, Uprising, Joy Ride, Here on Earth, Never Been Kissed, and Eyes Wide Shut. The cast here also includes Stellan Skarsgard (Deep Blue Sea, Timecode), Diane Lane (The Perfect Storm, The Outsiders), and Bruce Dern (Diggstown, Last Man Standing).
Video: How does it look?
The Glass House is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition included on the disc’s flip side. As per usual with their day & date releases, Columbia has issued a fine visual effort here and fans should be delighted. This is a visually charged film so it needs all the support it can muster and with this transfer, it gets the hand it needs and then some, very impressive work indeed. The colors retain the cool, often metallic hues the filmmakers intended, while black levels are razor sharp throughout. I saw some minor issues here and there, but in the end, this is a dazzling transfer that’s often pretty close to reference level.
Audio: How does it sound?
I had decent hopes for the audio here, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track never jumps the tracks beyond acceptable. I do think the rain sounds excellent in this mix, but I think more surround presence would have juiced the tension and perhaps by the same turn, enhanced the experience as a whole. The mix is not bad by any means, but it could have used a boost at times, to increase the tension and such. The elements sound good however, as dialogue is clean and the music is well placed, so I have no serious complaints in the end. This disc also includes 2.0 surround options & subtitle tracks in English and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main draw here is an audio commentary track with director Daniel Sackheim and writer Wesley Strick, but the session is not too impressive. Neither seems too enthused about the commentary session and while some information is passed, it comes in slow, subdued form and that lessens the experience. It is better to have a track than not, but I wish more energy were put into this session, without a doubt. This disc also includes a deleted scene with optional commentary, some talent files, and the film’s theatrical trailer.