|The Glass House|
Original theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Daniel Sackheim|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Written by||Wesley Strick|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Edited by||Howard E. Smith|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|September 14, 2001|
|Box office||$23.6 million|
The Glass House is a 2001 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Daniel Sackheim and written by Wesley Strick. The film stars Leelee Sobieski, Stellan Skarsgård, Diane Lane, Bruce Dern, Kathy Baker, Trevor Morgan and Chris Noth.
The film received generally negative reviews and was a box office bomb, grossing only $23 million on a $30 million production budget. The main reason cited for the financial failure of the film was the fact that the film was released 3 days after the September 11 attacks.
Sixteen-year-old Ruby Baker (Leelee Sobieski) and her eleven-year-old brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan) lose their parents, Dave and Grace, in a car accident. Their parents' will is not a recent one but, in accordance with its terms, the children are placed under the guardianship of family neighbors from some years back, the childless couple Erin Glass (Diane Lane) and Terry Glass (Stellan Skarsgård), who live in a large glass house in Malibu.
There are early indications that all is not well. The children have to share a room; they are no longer educated privately, and Rhett is allowed to play with games consoles at all times. Ruby is made uneasy by Terry's sexual hints when they are alone, and later comes across unlabeled pharmaceuticals and sees Erin injecting herself, though the couple claims this is for diabetes. Also, Ruby tries unsuccessfully to get the children's estate and trust fund lawyer Alvin Begleiter (Bruce Dern) to accept her concerns, and visiting social worker Nancy Ryan is taken in by the couple's assurances.
Ruby discovers a postcard from the children's maternal Uncle Jack (Chris Noth) in the trash, along with a letter from a private school indicating the Glasses unregistered the children and pocketed the $30,000+ tuition money. Ruby also finds signs that Terry is in debt to loan sharks, and she gradually realizes the Glasses are after the siblings' $4 million trust fund. Ruby becomes suspicious of her parents' death and discovers evidence of the Glasses' involvement from the online news which states that Ruby's parents had been driving a BMW, which was actually one of Terry's cars, instead of their Saab. Moreover, Ruby is expelled from school because her essay, which Terry finished for her seemingly to rekindle their relationship, is found to have been plagiarised; it is later revealed that this is Terry's plan to send Ruby to a distant boarding school. After being pushed by the loan sharks to pay off his debt, Terry decides to get money from the financial authority, claiming that it is to be used for the children's benefit. His request is denied and he is shown a copy of the un-registration letter from the school, previously faxed to the authority most likely by Ruby, which raises the question of why he needs more money when he has already gotten the tuition money back in his pocket.
Later the same night, Ruby steals Terry's car keys, wakes Rhett and drives off in his Jaguar, attempting to escape. She is stopped by the police who demand to see her driver's license. The kids are recaptured in the car on the road by Terry and Erin who talk the police into letting them go. Back home, Ruby attempts to run away again but Terry knocks her down and Erin drugs her. Terry then tells Erin they must get rid of Ruby. Overcome by guilt and having been permanently stripped of her medical license due to her drug abuse being uncovered by her employer Dr. Weiss, Erin commits suicide by overdose and was later found dead the next morning by both Ruby and Terry, much to their devastation. Terry locks the kids in the basement and sabotages his car, expecting the kids to reattempt escape and consequently perish. The loan sharks (alerted by Ruby) appear at Terry's house, kill Mr. Begleiter (who has come to confront Terry and revealed his complicity), repossess Terry's Jaguar and Ferrari, and insist on taking a ride. Terry begs them to take the Volvo instead of the Jaguar. Having overheard everything, Ruby hurriedly stabs the tires of the Volvo with a knife, causing the loan sharks to put Terry in the Jaguar and drive away in it. The car then goes over a ledge and crashes, seemingly killing the loan sharks and Terry.
Meanwhile, the children are picked up by a friendly cop on the road. The policeman passes the scene of an accident with Terry's Ferrari and the kids see a body being covered up. They continue on to the kids' house, but he stops when he sees evidence of another car having broken through the barrier. He tells the children to stay in the car while he investigates. He comes across the car and radios that there is one fatality. Terry comes up to him and knocks him out. A severely injured Terry climbs to the road and staggers towards Ruby and Rhett, hiding a gun. Ruby crawls into the front seat, and after backing the car up and telling Rhett to put his seatbelt on, speeds into Terry and kills him.
The kids are last seen placing flowers at the grave of their parents with their Uncle Jack who hugs them, saying that things will get easier and Ruby responds that they already have. They leave together to go home to Chicago.
The film was released on VHS and DVD on January 2, 2002. A Blu-ray version of the film has yet to be released. The original cut of the film was reported to be 180 minutes long, with 74 minutes worth of footage missing from the theatrical cut. Kip Pardue played Leelee Sobieski's love interest in the original cut though all of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. Of all the deleted footage, only two scenes managed to survive. They are included on the DVD as deleted scenes (listed below):
There's also one scene in the trailer showing Ruby furiously ripping posters off her wall, which doesn't appear in the finished film or on home video.
Because of the film's critical and financial failure, the studio had little interest in keeping unused footage and the missing 74 minutes worth of footage has since been considered lost.
The film opened at number two in its opening weekend at the US box office, behind Hardball, in which Diane Lane also stars. The Glass House grossed $18,150,259 domestically and $5,469,350 overseas, grossing a total of $23,619,609. The film's production budget was $30 million, resulting in a box-office bomb.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that the film received positive reviews by 21% of the 86 surveyed critics. The average rating was 4.23/10, and the consensus is: "Due to obvious plot twists and foreshadowing, The Glass House fails to thrill. By the end, it degenerates into ludicrousness."Roger Ebert rated the film 2 out of 4 stars and criticized the film's script. Writing in The New York Times, A. O. Scott called it unintentionally funny. Robert Koehler of Variety also called the film unintentionally funny and questioned why so many talented actors signed on to a poor script. Edward Guthmann, of the San Francisco Chronicle, criticized the film's violence and the timing of the release, which coincided with the September 11 attacks (in fact, for many critics it was the first film they saw after returning to work). In a more positive review, USA Todays Claudia Puig rated the film two out of four stars but called it "eerily engrossing."
A direct-to-video sequel, Glass House: The Good Mother, was released in 2006. The film did not feature any of the original characters and did not take place in the same house.