By Darlene Donloe
After watching Henry Alex Rubin’s Disconnect, which opened nationwide April 12, hopefully people will think twice about the amount of information they reveal on the internet and especially what they post on social media outlets.
This thriller is a disturbing, frustrating, fascinating and eye-opening look at the darker side of what has become a worldwide phenomenon. It’s not all fun and games on the internet. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes something very innocent can escalate and truly become ‘a thing’. Tragedy can strike at every turn or rather at every posting. Communicating has taken on many different forms. Does anyone write letters or send cards anymore? Reality bites!
In this drama, which has strong thematic content interwoven into three stories, there are some thought–provoking issues that every family should assess for themselves. The lives of everyone in the movie are affected by their online activities. Each story has its own poignant voice and striking outcome.
One of the stories involves a high school loner named Ben, who is pranked by two of his mean-spirited classmates Jason, played by Colin Ford and Frye, played by Avaid Bernstein. The two decide to go online and pretend to be Jessica, a girl who is interested in getting to know Ben. After a while Ben becomes comfortable chatting with Jessica and lets down his guard. When she sends him a naked picture (it’s a picture of some anonymous woman) she asks for him to send one of himself. And when he does all hell breaks out at school when Jason and Frye mass-email the picture to everyone at school. Ben’s parents are played by Jason Bateman (Rich) and Hope Davis (Lydia). Rich, unaware of what really happened in the beginning, decides to mount his own investigation. The investigation also reveals some powerful truths about his relationship with his own son. It’s quite a powerful moment.
The next story is about an investigative television reporter named Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough), who, as research, logs into a private chatroom featuring a porn cam-guy named Kyle (Max Thierot). Nina finally connects with Kyle by telling him she doesn’t want to watch him do sexual acts, but rather wants to do a story on his lifestyle. Of course, things go awry quickly.
The third story centers on Derek and Cindy Hull (Alexander Skarsgard and Paula Patton), a husband and wife who recently lost their young son. The two struggle to even communicate. Derek likes to gamble online, Cindy finds solace in a support chat group where she befriends a man (Michael Nyqvist) who is trying to get over the loss of his wife. Communication has nearly been severed by the recent death of their toddler son. They are both hurting, but lack the skills to work through the pain with their partner. Cindy tries to communicate with him but he's unresponsive. His refuge is on-line gambling. Hers is a support chat group, where she "befriends" an anonymous man (Michael Nyqvist) who is coping with the death of his wife. This segment is a bit forced, but it does work.
PAULA PATTON & ALEXANDER SKARSGARD
To add insult to injury, the Hulls' identities are stolen. That’s when the story gets even juicier.
Good performances and lots of drama makes this film a must-see!
Disconnected, directed by Henry Alex Rubin, stars Jason Bateman, Paula Patton, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Thieriot, Andrea Riseborough, Colin Ford, Frank Grillo, Hope Davis, Michael Nyqvist, Jonah Bobo, Haley Ramm, Kasi Lemmons, Erin Wilhelmi, John Sharian, Norbert Leo Butz.
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N ( needs work), L (likeable), O (OK) and E (excellent) Disconnected gets an E (Excellent).
MPAA Rating: R (Violence, Profanity, Sexual Content, Nudity, Drugs); Length: 1 hr. 55 min.