Plot: Ruby Baker (Leelee Sobieski) and her younger brother Rhett have just went through a horrific ordeal, as both of their parents were killed in an accident. The two siblings are soon moved to Malibu and will reside with Terrence Glass (Stellan Skarsgard) and his wife Erin (Diane Lane), old friends of their parents. This is no orphanage either, as the Glass house is a posh mansion with all the trimmings, including an almost all glass exterior that is gorgeous. Although the kids are shaken and uncertain, things start off very well with Ruby making all sorts of new friends and Rhett having a blast with all of his new toys, but the house is not as serene as it seems. After some time passes, Ruby notices some odd behavior from Terrence and Erin, but chalks it up to her imagination, at least she does at first. But when the family lawyer (Bruce Dern) informs her of a four million dollar trust fund in her and Rhett’s names, she sees a clearer picture in front of her. Is it all just in her mind, or are her new hosts trying to pave the way to collect the millions, even if it means murder?
Entertainment Value: If you’re going to make a convoluted thriller, really go for it and that is what The Glass House does here. The narrative is passable, but spirals into one twist or turn after another, most of which make little to no sense and exist solely to hope you remain interested. The movie is quite polished on the whole however, so you have this ridiculous chain of twists wrapped in such a slick thriller package, which to me is one reason the movie is a fun watch. Of course, if you need things to make sense or be coherent, you might be disappointed, as this isn’t about complex webs of plot, just throwing the kitchen sink at the audience. Even so, it is nice to have crisp visuals, solid production values, and a terrific cast all locked into this manic thriller narrative, at least I think so. The pace is fairly brisk and when things do slow down, The Glass House tosses in a twist or two just for laughs, so if you start to feel impatient, just give the movie a chance to twist things up. I think the movie is worth a look for anyone who appreciates a high gloss thriller, as The Glass House is well made and the convoluted plot ensures the movie is never dull. The real draw is Leelee Sobieski of course, but the overall movie is recommended as well.
The Glass House a more than capable lineup of talent involved, but Leelee Sobieski shines in the lead role and carries the movie on her back. She is able to give a serious, sincere performance and at the same time, load up on a more subtle brand of melodrama that suits this material so well. I think it would have been fun to see her just uncork the mania in some of the wilder moments, but she keeps it restrained and walks that line with great skill. Even the dumbest twists almost seem plausible, as she plays off them so well and conveys the sense of hopeless paranoia, as all of her hope is dashed time and again. I think she benefits from the great supporting cast as well, but Sobieski more than holds her own and proves she could be a competent lead, even this early in her career. The cast also includes Stellan Skarsgard, Rita Wilson, Agnes Bruckner, Chris Noth, Bruce Dern, Carly Pope, and Diane Lane. Told you this one had a great cast and for the most part, the performers are in fine form here.