'The Social Network' is a fast-paced drama with sharp dialogue and an intense, high-stakes plot. The Best Picture nominee chronicles the "true" story of the founding of Facebook and is also a biopic of sorts about its creator, Mark Zuckerberg. It is hailed as a unique film that defines this current generation.
If you liked 'The Social Network,' you might like the underrated movie 'Shattered Glass,' from 2003.
'Shattered Glass' is also a biopic about a controversial public figure -- in this case, disgraced New Republic journalist Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen), who rose to prominence in the late-'90s only to be caught fabricating stories and committing widespread journalistic fraud.
In the film, Glass feuds with his new editor, Chuck Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), claiming he was duped by his sources. Later, while trying to turn his fellow reporters against their boss, Glass argues that Chuck is throwing him under the bus to save the magazine.
In reality, Glass made up every person and place he described in his articles, single-handedly destroying the credibility of what was once "the in-flight magazine of Air Force One."
Those who argue that Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Facebook's Zuckerberg showed a ruthless, borderline sociopathic character should take a look at Christensen's version of Glass.
The difference in the two portrayals -- and perhaps what made 'The Social Network' more commercially and critically successful -- was that Eisenberg gave Facebook's founder a touch of humanity that is lacking in Christensen's choice to make Glass totally unsympathetic.
While Zuckerberg seems outwardly lacking in compassion, we find out that he does care, whereas the titular character in 'Shattered Glass' is likable and charming and then turns out to be bad news.
The Ending of 'Shattered Glass'
The end of 'Shattered Glass' takes on a similar courtroom drama feel that 'The Social Network' maintained throughout, with Chuck reading out all the stories Glass fabricated while he stares into the camera, perhaps finally understanding just how unethical he's been.
Both films deal with the dangers of too much ambition and what happens when you forsake those who trust you to obtain your own goals.
In the end, Glass' friends at the New Republic side with Chuck and he is alone at the conference table -- the same way Zuckerberg is left in 'The Social Network.' The only difference is, Zuckerberg is a billionaire and Glass is disgraced.
Buy or rent 'Shattered Glass,' or buy 'The Social Network' on DVD.
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