I have not seen a movie like “Disconnect” in a long while. It has this style of telling about the lives of various different seemingly unconnected characters working up to one common story that intertwines all of them together. A decade ago, this style was very popular. This was first brought to prominence by the acclaimed Mexican movie “Amores Perros”, and then we saw it in “Traffic”, “21 Grams”, culminating in the Oscar Best Picture Award given to “Crash.” “Disconnect” brings us back to those days when complex intersecting story lines ruled the cinemas.
“Disconnect” leads us into the lives of four characters and their families. What all of them have in common is that they all have been a victim of some sort of Internet crime and abuse. The start of the film was very discomforting to watch. We witness how various internet chat sites can be so dangerous. This is true whatever the nature of this chat site is, whether this is a private pornographic live chat room or a support group chat room for bereaved families. We will see sexual exploitation, bullying, fraud, identity theft, and various other internet crimes in action. We will also see the adverse effects these crimes have on the victims and their loved ones.
The actors were all very good in their roles. I recognize a few of them. Jason Bateman (from “Horrible Bosses”) is the busy lawyer whose introverted son was bullied at school. Paula Patton (from “Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol”) is a lonely neglected wife who confides her problems on a chat room with someone who could have just stolen all their money. Andrea Riseborough (from “Oblivion”) is a television journalist determined to go up in her profession even if it would cause problems to the young man who granted her the interview which would land her on CNN. The other young actors playing the bully, the bullied, and the sex site boy toy all gave memorable performances as well.
The pace of the movie is slow, and I think this was deliberate to make us feel how insidious these crimes can be. They can be happening to us without us ever knowing about it, until the consequences hit us squarely on the face. The director makes us of very dramatic camera angles and apt visual effects to emphasize his points. The editing done was very effective to create an intense feeling of dread and tension. Despite the PG rating given this film locally, the topic of the film is very adult, as well as the treatment, with scenes of nudity, sex, drugs and violence.This is a very serious and very thought-provoking film for this Internet Age we are in right now. In our obsession to remain connected to our virtual world on our favorite social media sites, are we actually being disconnected from our very own families, and other flesh and blood people around us? A must-see cautionary tale for all netizens. Highly recommended. 8/10.