When I was a child, we had VHS players, CRT standard-def televisions, computers with floppy disc drives, and internet access that was mainly geared towards business operations. Nowadays, so many pieces of technology are interconnected to a point where people would rather send a text or an e-mail than to go and have a conversation with someone in person. We as a society have embraced these technological advances so much that it’s hard to see if in the long run if it’s for better or worse. Director Henry Alex Rubin is able to use our now connected world as the background for his new film Disconnect. The film is composed of three interrelated stories that all involve technology linking people together in a particular fashion.
Sexual exploitation of children and the news media is one of the three stories. Andrea Riseborough plays Nina Dunham, a local news reporter who is out to expose the current sexual webcam pay sites. Max Thieriot plays Kyle, a young and impressionable teenage webcammer who is targeted by Nina for her story. To some extent, Nina and Kyle want to help each other out but the politics of the news media coverage are what help to create the dramatic exploits for what happens to their rocky friendship.
Another story within the film is about the rising amount of online bullying within the teenage community. Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo) is a friendless high school student who becomes the online target for Jason Dixon (Colin Ford) and his best friend Frye (Aviad Bernstein). The two friends decide to make a bogus Facebook profile of a high school girl and then use it to flirt with Jason in order to make fun of him. The situation then goes from bad to worse as Ben starts becoming attached to the counterfeit girl and the end result has Jason and Frye questioning their actions.
The final story within the film is geared towards online identity theft. Alexander Skarsgård plays Derek Hull, a middle-class married man whose marriage is on the rocks due to the loss of his only child. Paula Patton plays his wife Cindy Hull, who is even more grief-stricken over their loss and visits online support groups in order to deal with her emotional detachment from Derek. Their life begins to unravel even more when they find out that someone has stolen their identity and used it to max out their credit cards into the negatives.
All of these stories intermingle with each other (some more so than others) which results in an astonishingly performed as well as shot piece of relatable drama. Every single actor throughout the film shows off their acting capacity in a wonderfully electric and captivating way. Even minor characters which have a very small amount of screen time are entrancing to watch with every word that they say being a tug at the heart-strings of your own personal experiences. This is an unabashed and sometimes hard to watch drama that is as relatable as they come; with the prominent use of real, everyday social media services, the film isn’t afraid to delve into the common technology we all know and love and exploit it for all that it truly is.
Shot in an exceptionally voyeuristic manner with lots of wide shots and objects in the foreground being out of focus, the director screams an artistic point-of-view that extenuate the subject matter fully. Bright colors being less prominent and an overall bluish-green color palette gives the film a necessary visual grit that aids the downtrodden actions that happen throughout.
Overall, coming into the film I didn’t know what to truly expect. Rubin could have used the social media aspect in a way that could have left the film seeming to be silly or unrealistic; however that isn’t the case whatsoever. This is a film about people, technology, and relationships which hits every aspect spot on. It’s hard for me not to praise this film more than I already am but all I can say is that everyone of a mature age needs to see it at least once to witness how the internet age has truly changed the lives we now lead. Disconnect is a film that you can connect with from marvelous beginning to astonishing end.
FINAL TAKE: 10/11
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Synopsis: Three separate yet connected stories that intertwine with the current internet age.
Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Actors: Jason Bateman, Alexander Skarsgård, Paula Patton, Max Thieriot
Run time: 115 min
Just call me “Turbo” because it sums me up in a single word. I’m originally from Visalia, California but currently reside in Mesa, Arizona. I’m a movie and video game fanatic with a BA in Film and Media Production from ASU. I try to see every movie that I can (new and old) as well as play the latest video game releases. My goal in life would be to create a feature length film which viewers absolutely love. However, until then I love to entertain people with my 100+ voice impersonations as well as fill them in with the latest movie/ gaming news on Twitter. Facebook.com/turbizl, Twitter: @turbizl