The Glass House
When you have a bad story from the get-go, there's a simple way to solve the problem of the characters' unforgiving march through utterly obvious situations.
When you have a bad story from the get-go, there's a simple way to solve the problem of the characters' unforgiving march through utterly obvious situations: You make them young or you make them retarded.
In this case, director Daniel Sackheim has apparently made his main character both: Ruby Baker (Leelee Sobieski) is only sixteen and exhibits barely enough sense to function. Of course, Leelee is actually nineteen, which means I spent much of the movie noticing how her acting ability was not even coming close to bridging the age difference. After her parents are killed in a car accident, she and her brother, Rhett (Trevor Morgan), move in with Terry (Stellan Skarsgard) and Erin (Diane Lane) Glass. The Glasses are given custody in the Baker's will.
The reason Ruby has to be young and naive is because we figure out right away that something isn't right. First of all, the Baker's attorney (Bruce Dern) gets on the phone right after he meets with Ruby. The next thing she knows, Terry and Erin are confronting her about all the things she told the lawyer. Yet Ruby doesn't make the connection that the lawyer passed on the information. Who else could have done it? However, the Glasses have a cool house that her brother really likes, so Ruby doesn't voice her misgivings. Even when Terry catches her swimming in the pool and stares at her like a starving man on a desert island who's just seen two Big Macs skitter across the sand yelling "eat me, eat me," she doesn't say much.
(WARNING: SPOILER) Naturally, it turns out that the Glasses are involved in the murder of Ruby's parents, which raises all sorts of questions with no sensible answers. Erin is a doctor who's been stealing prescription drugs from her job, and is so strung out it's hard to believe somebody at the hospital hasn't noticed the groceries she keeps in the bags under her eyes. The car the Bakers die in was loaned to them by Terry. Did the police not check that out? Did they not then find that Terry was in debt up to his eyeballs? It's also not clear how Terry expects to get Ruby's and Rhett's inheritance. Does he think he's just going to spend it all and nobody will notice? Not noticing the obvious is big theme with "The Glass House." Apparently, Sackheim hoped nobody would notice all the huge holes in the plot.
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