Published Sep 23, 2012Screenwriter Andrew Stern and documentary filmmaker Henry-Alex Rubin attempt to deliver a gut-wrenching film about how technology, social media networks and smartphones are ruining personal relationships.
Instead of showing viewers how technology has a created self-induced isolation that has become an epidemic in society, it takes the Hollywood route and focuses on turning it into Crash for the Internet era, making viewers feel equally disconnected from the film and the messages it's trying to convey.
Although Disconnect is set up as an ensemble drama, it might as well be considered a horror anthology, since the film focuses on three interwoven stories of characters that have been left traumatized by the effects of the internet.
The first story follows ambitious TV reporter Nina (Andrea Riseborough), who wants to do a story on sex chat sites that recruit homeless teenagers. She then connects with Kyle (Max Thieriot) on his personal porn channel and convinces him to tell his story to the world.
The second tale follows Rich Boyd (Jason Bateman), a lawyer and mentally absentee father whose world comes crashing down when son Ben (Jonah Bobo) attempts suicide and is left in a coma after two of his classmates pose as a girl on Facebook and humiliate him by sending his naked picture all over the social network for all to see.
The third and most compelling of the three stories follows a damaged married couple named Derek and Cindy (Alexander Skarsgård and Paula Patton), who just recently lost their baby. When they become victims of identity fraud, they hire a private investigator (Frank Grillo), who reveals to the couple that the culprit who stole their savings found Cindy on an online grief support chat room. Unfortunately for the pair, there isn't enough evidence to arrest the suspect, so Derek and Cindy decide to confront the man (Michael Nyqvist) themselves.
Despite the fact the film is full of great performances and actually takes an indie approach to its conclusion by not providing clear-cut resolutions to each of the character's plights, it fails to make anyone identify with the problems involved in each story.
Instead, it will make viewers want to install spy software on their children's laptops, invest in a new anti-malware program and punch the person on their smartphone in front of them at the theatre who simply is too self-absorbed to care what the film is trying to say. (LD Entertainment)