Disconnect (2012)

Director: Henry Alex Rubin

Starring: Jason Bateman, Frank Grillo, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgard, Max Thieriot, Colin Ford

Disconnect is a thriller drama that works to loosely connect three different stories about people whose lives have been significantly impacted by the technology they use. From the lonely teenager who is looking for friendship, the rising reporter who is looking for the perfect story on runaway kids, to a grieving couple whose identities have been stolen, this movie packs an emotional punch to deliver it’s message that is very relevant in today’s technological world.

This film has been featured at both the Venice and Toronto international film festivals and is currently limited to few theaters. It is a film that in my opinion though, deserves a wide release so that it can be viewed by everyone. It’s incredibly prevalent message is one that is very important and director Henry Alex Rubin does a wonderful job telling it very beautifully. It shows us that though technology can be an excellent asset to society, it can also devastate us if we don’t use it carefully.

The stories are based off of actual events which make the movie that more emotional. Jason Bateman plays Rich Boyd, the disconnected father of Ben who finds comfort in a girl who contacted him via facebook. They form an emotional connection but what Ben doesn’t know is that the girl isn’t real, and is actually a ploy by two fellow classmates. Cindy (Paula Patton) and Derek (Alexander Skarsgard) are a couple grieving over the recent loss of their baby and also become victims of identity theft. This takes a huge toll on their already rocky relationship. Nina (Andrea Riseborough) is an ambitious reporter who finds the perfect story regarding minors soliciting themselves online but doesn’t realize the huge trouble that she is getting herself into. As I said before, these three stories are loosely connected to each other but that is not their purpose. Each story can stand on it’s own and Rubin works to carefully builds tension throughout the movie in each story equally.

All of the actors are excellent. Even the younger ones, Max Thieriot and Colin Ford, are on top of their game. With his performance, Jason Bateman has proved to me that he can do drama just as well as comedy. Also, I first saw Andrea Riseborough just last month in Oblivion and though I had not heard of her before, her performance in that role left an impression on me and seeing her in this film just supported that impression. You can really tell all of the actors are truly in their roles, in a film that they want to be in.

I’m really confused as to why this movie has an R-rating, though. The most risque thing in it is probably a few scenes that deal with the cyber sex storyline. Even that wasn’t very graphic or anything. I kind of wish this movie would have gotten a PG-13 rating so that more people could see it. In a world that revolves around Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc., it’s easy to fall into the trap of mistaking the connections we make with others as legitimate. In reality, are we really connecting to others? Or are we actually disconnecting ourselves from the real world while we delve into the depths of the cyber world we have created? That sounds hypocritical to say as I type this onto an internet blog, but the film really seeks to make you think.

What’s truly unique about this movie to me is the fact that in the end, it doesn’t resolve itself. We don’t know what happens to the people whose stories we have watched unfold. We don’t know if they end up okay. I think that’s a risky move to make when you are making a movie because naturally, people want resolution at the end of a story. But I think in this particular case, the lack of a resolution truly fits. The point of that may be the fact that these stories aren’t unique to the characters on the screen. They can happen to anyone, and they have. Many people have experienced these things before and sometimes they end up okay, and sometimes they don’t. Disconnect is probably one of my favorite films of the year so far as it’s realistic feeling scenarios will have you suspended to your seat during the movie, and your mind reeling afterwards.

Rating: A

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