The Glass House (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/01/2002

Three out of five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Routine thriller-by-numbers that benefits from a strong cast and an over-active imagination in the production design department.

The Glass House is a routine thriller-by-numbers that holds no surprises whatsoever, but performs its task more than adequately and is lifted into watchability by virtue of its strong cast and over-the-top production design.

Leelee Sobieski (the ‘jailbait’ character in Eyes Wide Shut) plays sixteen year-old Ruby Baker, whose parents die in a car-crash within minutes of the opening credits, so she and her little brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan – not to be confused with the EastEnders character) are promptly whisked off to California and taken in by their parents’ best friends, Erin and Terry Glass (Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgaard).

However, Ruby – smart kid that she is - quickly comes to suspect that the Glasses may not be everything they seem and it’s not long before stones get thrown in ‘The Glass House’, which, incidentally, just in case you weren’t paying attention, is also made of glass. Yes, that’s right – Mr and Mrs GLASS live in a house that is made of GLASS. Everyone got that? Alright then.

Frankly, you know you’re in trouble if Bruce Dern is your estate lawyer, as Dern is not exactly known for playing honest citizens. In fact, the casting is excellent, as you’re never quite sure who to trust, including Chris Noth (Sex and the City’s ‘Mr Big’), who turns up as Ruby and Rhett’s estranged uncle.

It’s tempting to see The Glass House as one of those films with tongue firmly in cheek, as it certainly has its fair share of laughable moments. These include an extremely blatant Hamlet metaphor running through the film, as well as the fact that during the course of the film, Southern California sees more rain in two hours than it has in a decade.

There’s obviously at least some intelligence at work here, anyway, because there are also a couple of quite subtle Hitchcock references.

The acting is excellent, with Sobieski (looking more and more like a young Helen Hunt) proving more than capable of carrying a film and marking herself out as a talent to watch.

Skarsgaard, too, is always good value and he’s suitably creepy here, yet also managing to elicit a good deal of sympathy for his character. Plus, it’s always a treat to see Diane Lane onscreen – why she doesn’t get bigger film roles is a complete mystery.

In short, The Glass House is an extremely watchable, if instantly forgettable little thriller. There’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but the performances make it worth your while.

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The Glass House (15)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 20:36

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