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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.28%
Worth A Look: 18.03%
Average: 29.51%
Pretty Bad32.79%
Total Crap: 16.39%

5 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Glass House, The (2001)
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by Greg Muskewitz

"A beauty that isn't completely see-thru."
4 stars

A pleasant surprise. Or perhaps a pleasant, hopeful expectation. A mainstream, plot-wise unextravagantly Hollywood thriller, has probably generated more noise for Leelee Sobieski’s one-million dollar paydirt than the sounds of glass breaking (or the lack of hordes rushing to see it).

Leelee and her young brother Trevor Morgan (looking nothing alike whatsoever) are orphaned when their parents die in a car accident. They are handed over to the Glass family, a close pair of friends to the parents (as they happen to live accordingly in a glass house), but while the “opulence” (as the press kit puts it) is a wonderful and spectacular piece of décor, there is something more sinister lurking inside, and possibly in the Glass’ motives, considering that the orphaned children have been left quite an endowment.

The early introduction to the characters—mainly Leelee’s—is weak and superficial, and it doesn’t help to have skull-vibrating music blasted to the max, obscuring much of the conversation. As Wesley Strick’s script starts heading more into the “thrilling” terrain, the expected and anticipated terrain, it quickly begins to get better. The paranoia of Leelee’s character, Ruby, is not very unreal. As she develops suspicions from questionable occurrences, added to the stress of having suddenly and tragically lost one’s parents, it is not unbelievable to confuse yourself over how much one might be looking too hard at a situation. But it is that very feeling, the unknowing, especially when things begin to add up, that lends The Glass House a genuinely eerie and nightmarish ambience. That surreal feeling is doubtlessly nowhere comparable to the same tension and fluidity that a David Lynch or a Franz Kafka conjures up in their respective careers. And maybe it is just me, familiar with the uneasiness of such a dream, everything turned upside down, not plausible, yet still wholly real. People turned against you, ignoring you, or simply ignorant towards you; and the feeling of being trapped in a box—or this case, a house, the walls, constructed of glass and plastic, allowing one to clearly see outside, but unable to get there and with the outside world blinded to what is contained for one’s examination.

The Glass House is far, far off from being perfect, but it is an entertaining, tasty morsel. Strick isn’t very good at tying up loose ends and keeping track of what he frays along the way; there are too many times that there are no follow ups with characters or events (e.g., the social worker) that should otherwise have a major effect on the story. But despite all this, the glass only cracks, never shattering. Director Daniel Sackheim modestly works the suspenseful pace and progressive turnstiles by allowing one to tilt their head, but never to twist it. Even better than Leelee as the first-billed “actor” of the movie is the glass house itself, a beautifully crafted postmodern masterpiece. The thing would be too naked for my own personal likes, but the production design is elegantly and fascinatingly blueprinted by Jon Gary Steele and Sarah Knowles. Alvin Kivilo’s cinematography excellently captures and maneuvers the set/house, and the sensuous way it is filmed so strongly brings back memories of the glass church that was even more exquisite in Oscar & Lucinda. The porcelain China Doll-faced Sobieski handles the lead very headstrongly and very convincingly. She effortlessly outdoes Stellan Skarsgård (though still amiably holding his ground), Diane Lane (looking and acting like an older Bijou Phillips), Bruce Dern and Rita Wilson. Morgan, fresh of the island in Jurassic Park III especially reminds me of a young Elijah Wood, circa middle Nineties with The Good Son. Morgan is a bit more aloof, disassociated, but isn’t annoying as many adolescent actors his age. The high school sequences are still terribly awkward and artificial, but as the first of three Leelee movies due out this season, I am so far plenty satisfied and highly awaiting seconds and thirds.

With Carly Pope, Chris Noth and Kathy Baker.

Final Verdict: B+.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/06/01 16:07:49
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell IT SUCKS 1 stars
2/20/11 Ark Leelee is hot, movie somehow captures a sense of dread! 3 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner This is the kind of movie you fall asleep too. 1 stars
2/14/07 Sleez Boy Probably the worst crap I've seen, doesn't accomplish anything, but HATE for this films! >{ 1 stars
12/03/06 David Pollastrini Leelee Sobieski is hot! 5 stars
7/29/05 Nobody Dark, creepy, paranoid. I was expecting a better ending, but it is pretty suspenseful 3 stars
6/18/05 Indrid Cold Leelee looks like ayoung Helen Hunt, which is the most interesting thing about this movie. 2 stars
6/05/05 Joe This movie makes you wanna hate your mother 1 stars
3/11/05 Danielle R. A thoroughly entertaining thriller. Excellent art direction. 5 stars
11/15/04 Robert It sucks! 1 stars
2/05/04 NewYork I enjoyed it very much 4 stars
2/01/04 Lindsay IT'S GREAT 4 stars
10/01/03 Samuel Justus Suspenseful! Damn! It would suck if this ever happened to someone! 4 stars
9/05/03 Natalie Stonecipher Heroine's a brat; Skarsgård too nice to hate for too much of movie. Average 3 stars
9/05/03 Jin So outrageous, depressing, and just wretched 1 stars
8/25/03 Carrie Kohl Anything like subliminable, OthersFan? What dat you say, Darlene?!? 4 stars
6/25/03 TheOthersFan this does fall under the genre of unintentionable-sick-sense-of-humor comedies, right? 1 stars
1/05/03 Goofy Maxwell Like watching retarded fish trying to keep their heads above water. 1 stars
10/11/02 SiliconHero said this was a thriller? Coulda fooled me! 2 stars
8/14/02 palaboy101 good movie... 'nuff said. 4 stars
5/16/02 Darlene Groetz The movie where Leelee Sobieski became a zombie of the tragic wands. 2 stars
2/23/02 Unanon Oooooh! Spooky! <----- Note sarcasm. 2 stars
2/17/02 John Lyons Would have been watchable if Lelee had gotten naked. 2 stars
2/04/02 Natalie Stonecipher Heroine's a brat; Skarsg@rd too nice to hate for too much of movie 3 stars
1/13/02 Andrew Carden Predictible, but Still Watchaable Teen Thriller. 3 stars
1/08/02 greensweater Hilarious! 1 stars
11/24/01 Roy Smith Best appreciated with a box of kleenex, and I don't mean for crying. 3 stars
10/15/01 Schmidty72 Was promising but Sobieski's character is just not likable. 2 stars
10/07/01 KCMichelle My grandmother's funeral was less predictable. 1 stars
9/18/01 FriscoJohn Average at BEST 2 stars
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  14-Sep-2001 (PG-13)


  18-Oct-2001 (M)

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