Attention, Journalism professors of the world: Now you finally have something other than All The President’s Men or Absence of Malice to show to your students. This charts the outlandish but true story of Stephen Glass, a young reporter for The New Republic who was found out to have fabricated a majority of his articles. Shrewdly structured like an edge-of-your-seat thriller by first time director Billy Ray, the film is exhausting, but insightful; it’s certainly the most realistic portrayal of journalists I’ve seen in years.

As a surprise to anyone who sat through the dreadful Star Wars II: Attack of The Clones, Hayden Christensen is actually good as Glass, exuding an uncommon but appropriate mix of smarm and vulnerability, like a more subtle Eddie Haskell with tragic consequences. The key performance here, however, comes from Peter Sarsgaard as Glass’ editor, Chuck Lane. Nearly unrecognizable to anyone who only knows him from Boys Don’t Cry, he excels at what is indisputably the film’s trickiest role, as he continues to keep his cool for a tense amount of time before building to a masterfully, believably dignified eruption when Glass’ goose finally gets cooked.

Chloe Sevingy, Hank Azaria, and Steve Zahn are also fun to watch in supporting roles. And, it’s refreshing to see an entertaining thriller that doesn’t pander to its audience (no Hollywood ending here) or offer any simple psychological equations as to why Glass thought he could get away with such a scam. That he did for so long is treated fairly, with equal amounts intrigue and disgust.


If you’re wondering where have all the AIDS films gone, here’s one from Thom Fitzgerald (the director of The Hanging Garden, a distinctive slice of gay cinema that stood out from the unfortunate gay romantic comedy boom of the late ‘90s.) This one’s really more of a film about assisted suicide than AIDS, but it never lets you forget, or more precisely, doesn’t want you to forget that AIDS is still a problem; people with the disease may be living longer, but they’re still dying.

The film opens with Matt (Don McKellar) being placed into a body bag and wheeled out of his Chelsea apartment to the darkly comic strains of “Spirit of the Sky”. What follows is a flashback-fueled investigation of his death by D.A. Nick (a somewhat miscast Parker Posey), who is not sure whether AIDS itself or an assisted suicide is what killed Matt. Although clumsy, overstuffed with too many supporting figures and little overlong, The Event is still provocative, occasionally ingenuous, and emotionally wrenching without slipping into the sentimental deep end.

Olympia Dukakis arguably delivers her best work since the first Tales of The City miniseries as Matt’s mother; a scene the two of them share together on a park bench is as moving as anything in Lost In Translation and just spellbinding in its tonal shifts. The always-memorable Sarah Polley (watch for her amazing television commercial audition) and Brent Carver are also fine as, respectively, Matt’s younger sister and his doctor (possibly something more?)

Although some of the subplots seem a little lost (like an investigation involving a drag queen, although she’s one of the least stereotypical ever to grace the screen and has at one classic line), The Event is required viewing for anyone who fears gay cinema, or independent film, for that matter, has nothing interesting left to say or explore. And for every misstep, there’s a wonderful, unpredictable, shattering scene that you won’t soon forget.