8 Jun 2022
Darren Barnet, Alex Kyle Young
Susan Taylor, Brendan James Hanrahan, Alex Kyle Young, Darren Barnet, Veronica Sixtos, Anna Berg
There are moments of ‘Glass’ in which it promises to be a tight, well-thought-out family drama, however, it descends far too often into melodrama. The melodrama is cheesy and comes across as insincere - the kind of thing you’d see on an early evening talk show as you’re gathering around for dinner.
Dinner is what provokes what will hereby be known as ‘the incident’ which sparks the core issue of the film. A family, we don’t know their family name, are gathered around the table for dinner - the parents being Nadine, an ambiguous woman played by Susan Traylor, and Frank, a balding, middle-aged man with a sharp temper who is played by Brendan James Hanrahan. Also at the table, we have Austin (Alex Kyle Young), Danny (Darren Barnet), Allie (Anna Berg) and Yolanda (Veronica Sixtos). Other than the fact that Austin and Yolanda are seeing each other, their relationship with each other, and indeed Nadine and Frank, remains unknown. This means that it is more difficult to build tension between the characters and Frank, as he unleashes his drunken tirade.
It is very much a tirade, unleashing an onslaught of words at Danny for his unhappiness towards his unfavourable position at work - brought about by his lack of qualifications. There are also complaints towards Yolanda, who is unhappy that she hasn’t yet received a promotion - something Frank blames on her poor work ethic. Naturally, Yolanda doesn’t take too well to this, fighting fire with fire, and provoking ‘the incident’, which, unsurprisingly involves some glass.
This is the climax of the film - a problem given that this scene concludes just five minutes in. That leaves the remainder of the film as something of an anti-climax, with a time-jump springing a shock which was supposed to have emotional weight, but is instead devoid of feeling. This is largely due to the poor establishment of each of the characters in the film, all of whom are one-dimensional at best. Frank is a hot-tempered man when drunk, and a kind-hearted man when sober. Danny is a bit of a scrounger, with big ambitions but lacking the ambition to fulfil them. Austin is a quiet guy, though not afraid to pull any punches. Yolanda knows that she’s above all the petty family drama and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. Two characters - Nadine and Allie are non-entities, given barely a bone to feed on, and remain blank canvases throughout.
This suggests a larger problem with the script, which was penned by Darren Barnet from a story by Alex Kyle Young. The script omits too much information which is needed to give the film’s latter half any emotion. Additionally, rather than fill in the blanks, there is instead a meaningless scene of Frank hugging a young girl, before an eight-month time jump to an unexpected turn of events, which is just sprung on us with no build-up. Whilst the script is impressive in the film’s first half, it fails to flesh out its character, leaving the second half anti-climactic and ultimately disappointing.
In a similar vein, the direction from Brionne Davis excels in the first half but is lacklustre in the second. In the first half, Davis’ close-up shots of Frank, complete with a shaky camera to echo his drunken state, set the scene perfectly and effectively set up the climax. However, in the second it reverts to a corny, hallmark quality direction, only amplifying the sense of melodrama, with the film being drenched in light overbearingly to establish Frank’s change in character.
The acting, for the most part, is competent - especially that of Brendan James Hanrahan, who goes through the full range of emotions as Frank, including an excellent almost maniacal moment as he reaches the peak of his toxicity. Alex Kyle Young and Darren Barnet are also impressive, the latter of ‘Never Have I Ever’ fame, giving understated performances as Austin and Danny respectively. Veronica Sixtos is good, though her role is constrained to a few angry outbursts, whilst Susan Traylor and Anna Berg never really get the opportunity to impress.
The first half of ‘Glass’ is an example of near-perfect tension building, however, it reaches its climax far too soon, leaving the second half reaching in the dark, and failing to switch on the light. Poor characterisation of pretty much every character drags the film down, with nobody given anything much to work with in a disappointing second half.