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4.3 out of 5 stars24
4.3 out of 5 stars
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This is an enjoyable, though predictable, thriller that seems more like a made for television movie rather than a motion picture made as a feature film release for the big screen. This is not entirely surprising, as it is directed by Daniel Sackman, a veteran television director.
The plot is fairly straightforward. Sixteen year old Ruby Baker (Leelee Sobielski) and her brother, eleven year old Rhett (Trevor Morgan)), are living the lives of normal, carefree kids with their loving parents, Grace (Rita Wilson) and David Baker (Michael O'Keefe). The world, as they know it, comes crashing down on them when their parents unexpectedly die in what appears to be a routine car accident. The family lawyer, Alvin Bergletter (Bruce Dern), informs the children that the terms of their parents' have left them wealthy and in the care and custody of former neighbors, Erin (Diane Lane) and Terry Glass (Stellan Skarsgard).
Before you know it, Ruby and Trevor are esconced in the Glass Malibu home, a huge, luxurious, all glass structure. Immediately, the viewer senses something is wrong, as, amidst all this room and spaciousness, Ruby and Trevor are forced to share a bedroom. A series of unsettling events serve to make Ruby suspicious of the motives of Erin and Terry Glass and cause her to make unwelcome inquiries into the deaths of her parents. What she discovers, however, comes as no surprise to the discerning viewer, who should have little difficulty in figuring out what is going on.
The performances, by and large, are adequate. Leelee Sobielski is somewhat wooden in her portrayal of Ruby, mistaking a deadpan expression for seriousness of purpose. Trevor Morgan is merely annoying, but this is brought about by a script that requires him to utter the word, "Sweet", everytime he is pleased with something. Their characterization of the children makes it difficult for the viewer to warm up to either of them.
Diane Lane sleepwalks through her part, which may be fitting considering her specific personal problem in the film. Stellan Skarsgard is appropriately menacing in a very controlled way. His is one of the better performances. The only odd note is that an accent of sorts seems to occassionally slip out, which is somewhat jarring. Bruce Dern is excellent as the family attorney, as is Chris Noth in the small role of the children's estranged uncle.
The DVD provides a very clear, high quality picture and sound. Other than the usual commentary and filmmaker interviews, the DVD does not offer all that much in terms of bonus features. For those who enjoy the inclusion of deleted scenes, this DVD offers exactly one such scene.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 August 2013
This is not particularly memorable but definitely a passable feature, that is to say that it is watchable, the cast is well choosen, the plot is interesting and suspense builds well towards the finish when it sort of experiences a kind of convulsive change of genre into a bit of an action movie which was out of step with the feature up until that point.

It is powered along mainly by the principle characters, our protagonist, a young girl who through bereavement (with which she and her younger brother appear to deal with shockingly well to be frank) is an heir to a small fortune, and her antagonists, Mr and Mrs Glass, on sleazey and lousy cash strapped guardian and his junkie Dr. wife.

The roles in which each are cast are good and the acting very plausible, apart from perhaps the extent to which the children appear to deal so well with their parents deaths, then again there are signs of despair, denial and even inappropriate coping (the young protagonist being introduced to drugs as a coping mechanism by Mrs Glass) so perhaps not to labour that point.

The dilemmas and their working out of the first three quarters of the film are brilliant, serving to develop the characters some what, for instance Mr Glass' propensity to screw up is illustrated when he appears to have assisted with an essay for Ruby's school only for it to have been a clumbsy work of plagarism. This perhaps not a big deal but I did think it made the point that Mr Glass was a bit of a crook who liked to cut corners and arrogant enough to believe a perpetual dodge was possible, which lend plausibility to idea that he is in desperation in his dealing with some pretty nasty loan sharks.

While the plot progression from suspecting that their guardians are simply a couple of schmucks, not capable of caring for themselves and coping with their own problems with drugs, alcohol and debt, to suspecting they could have had some sinister connection to her parents deaths is done really well there is a point at which the movie feels like it has taken a total change in direction. From a strong story told from the point of a younger person dealing with the traumatic loss of her parents, confronted with the reality of much, much less than idle living circumstances for dealing with that and the menacing alternative of becoming "a ward of the state" the story lurches over into a thriller, car chase and The Hitcher [1986] (Special Edition) [DVD] like revenge flick.

This really let it down for me, perhaps it was qued or signposted by the protagonist's watching a slasher flick with her friends at the start of the movie but I really felt like the direction had given up on delivering some kind of good suspense piece that opted for some good old fashioned crowd pleasing moronic action finish. Its worth seeing simply with this in mind to judge for yourself. Otherwise the dynamics between the two central members of the cast, Ruby and Mr Glass, are worth watching, there is that terrible sort of uncomfortable realism about their performances, a little like De Niro in Cape Fear, which is really very good considering most films struggle to evoke any sort of feeling at all.
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on 3 August 2002
I wasn't expecting a lot from this little known psychological thriller but it's a gripping film and probably the best of its kind around at the moment.
Although somewhat predictable in parts, there's plenty of nail-biting action that keeps you hooked for the entire duration. Brilliant performances from all actors, especially Stellan Skarsgard.
DVD special features include interviews, the original trailer for the film and deleted scene.
To sum up, a must-see film and worthy addition to my DVD collection.
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After an impressive number of supporting movie roles, the lovely Leelee Sobieski takes center stage in this impressive psychological thriller, delivering a performance I found both wonderful and, most importantly, believable. While the plot may not be all that original and unpredictable, I found The Glass House to be an absorbing, suspenseful movie that never relented in its building psychological intensity. Anyone who sets out to hurt a character played by Leelee gets my full attention and disdain, but the evil husband and wife responsible for all the villainy espoused in this film do an excellent job of deserving all the disgust I felt for them.
While Miss Sobieski looks a tad older than the sweet sixteen age of her character Ruby Baker, her natural sweetness and vulnerability make her quite convincing as a normal young teenager whose life is thrown into chaos when her parents are killed in an automobile accident. Ruby and her eleven-year-old brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan) go to live with Terry and Erin Glass (played quite impressively by Stellan Skarsgard and Diane Lane), their former neighbors and designated custodians. Their new home is an impressive, unique structure with many glass walls and an ultra-modern interior design. Rhett settles in quite well, but Ruby is uncomfortable from the start. Early on, she realizes that the Glasses are not the perfect couple they purport to be. At first, she attempts to rationalize her problems, ascribing her difficulty adjusting to her new life as a natural reaction to her grief over the loss of her parents and the social dislocation she feels upon moving to a new city and attending a new school. Little things continue to happen, however, and she soon finds herself seeking help from her parents' estate lawyer. When she learns that her parents' estate adds up to four million dollars, she finally begins to suspect her guardians of having somehow played a part in her parents' deaths and to fear that she and her brother are in grave danger as long as they remain in the house.
I thought the ending played out very well. There was one important plot point which I did not expect (along with a few that I did), and the suspense that had been building up consistently throughout the movie reached its peak at just the right time. I don't find any real absurdity to the ending - slightly clichéd: yes, but absurd: no. I think Sobieski is just wonderful and quite convincing in her role of what is a pretty typical teenaged girl forced to deal with a terrifying, almost hopeless situation. The film succeeds as well as it does, in my opinion, because Lane and Skarsgard give strong performances of their own opposite Sobieski's. The end result is a suspenseful triumph that I found refreshingly thrilling and convincing.
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on 21 January 2008
A simple thriller like so many others. A car accident, two orphans sheltered by the parents' business associates who are revealed to have been the killers to put their hands on the money the children represent, and all that for some shady business with criminal contractors. Banal. The elder child, the girl, will try to escape and will fail. And little by little things are going down but all is well that ends well and I can't reveal the details, except that the uncle will get the kids he should have gotten from the very start since he was the only family. The thrill comes from the details of the yarn we are told which is in a way a tall tale from some Calaveras County, California and its giant leaping jumping frogs.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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on 3 July 2014
A bit wooden and fake seeming but the film does actually work. The psychotic looking female teenage lead does help to make the film more workable and I would watch again although I'm not sure I would buy it for my personal collection.
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on 15 October 2010
I really enjoyed this film; it had some exciting moments and was ideal for a miserable afternoon
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on 22 March 2015
An excellent movie. Not to me missed.
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on 16 July 2015
odd story but i liked it thankyou,.
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on 16 September 2015
Very good enjoyed watching it
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