By Gary Murray

Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis and Paula Patton

Written by Andrew Stern

Directed by Henry Alex Rubin

Running time 115 min

MPAA Rating R

Selig Film Rating Cable


Disconnect is a film about the Internet.  Much like films like Crash or Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve, it is one of those movies of different vignettes that tie together into a collective whole.  Characters are connected by tangent in ways they do not know but the audience does.

Here’s the plot.  Rich (Jason Bateman) is a lawyer with a family all living in the same house but not in the same world.  His youngest son is a budding artist and loner.  He’s ‘catfished’ by two boys in his school.  One of the boys has a father Mike (Frank Grillo) who was a former cop and now investigates cyber-crime such as identity fraud.  He is helping a couple who have had their money stolen via the internet.  The two have lost a child and do not communicate.  The wife Cindy (Paula Patton) talks to another on-line.  The guy she talks to may or may not be going on a sex chat site.  A young man on the sex chat site is contacted by a TV reporter Nina (Andrea Riseborough) who wants to do a story on his life.  Rich is the lawyer who represents the television station. See how it all ties together in a nice little package.

With such a large cast, it takes a mighty effort to break free from the pack.  Of the entire cast only Andrea Riseborough and Paula Patton make a mark.  Both are wounded women who cannot connect with the people in their lives.  Andreas’s character of Nina is a driven woman who wants the story at any cost.  She uses every tool in her feminine toolbox to get what she wants.  She is a seducer just as much as her subject.  Paula Patton’s Cindy is a shattered person, grasping at every little cyber life preserver.  There is real emotion in her performance and it is heartbreaking to watch. 

But the rest of the cast seems to be walking around in a daze.  Jason Bateman and Frank Grillo eventually have a confrontation that is filmed in slow-motion.  The problem is that every other scene they are in is in emotional slow-motion.  Maybe that is the point that director Henry Alex Rubin is trying to make.  As our computers work faster and faster, we as a society are functioning slower. 

The point behind Disconnect is that the Internet can be an evil beast.  With the ability to connect via a modem with basically anyone in the world, the world has become a much smaller place. 

At the same time, we as a society have given up on personal one-on-one contacts with electronic ones.  You may have thousands of Facebook friends and Twitter followers but will any of them help you move across town or offer you an actual shoulder to cry on? 

The Internet is the reflection of our narcissistic self, the over inflated Ego without any kind of Super Ego check.  The more connected we have become, the more cocooned we eventually become.  We are no longer free people but slaves of our own making, building our cages with electronic wires.

Disconnect is a reflection on how bad the world of the Internet has become and how far removed from any reality.  Almost all the sex that happens in the movie is virtual, without any meaning, caring or love.  It almost becomes a form of excessive masturbation without connection. 

Every character can only be honest with stranger and not with the people who love and care about them.  Honestly through anonymity is the basic précis of Disconnect.  It is as sad as it is true.

The entire exercise of Disconnect runs more like a bad soap opera than a major motion picture.  It is slow and gloomy, showing a world without any hope.  It is the world we are becoming but not a world I want to be a part of. 


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