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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Movie Review - Disconnect

Disconnect (2013)
Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Scarsgård, Max Thieriot, Colin Ford, Jonah Bobo, Norbert Leo Butz, Haley Ramm, Kasi Lemmons, and Aviad Bernstein
Directed by Henry-Alex Rubin

Disconnect is one of those movies where a bunch of apparently unrelated storylines have tenuous connections that allow the players from one tale to have interactions with players from another tale.  I typically really like these kinds of films and while Disconnect generally works, it's not nearly as deep and profound as it aspires to be.  Taking on the internet, Disconnect attempts to tell us that we enter this (not so) newfound technological breakthrough at our own risk -- but is that really new information for us?  Aren't we all aware that bad folks are ready to prey on us online?

Still, despite the obvious, we are treated to some good stories here.  The best involves a young high school kid named Ben (Jonah Bobo) who just so happens to look at two of his classmates Jason and Frye (Colin Ford and Aviad Bernstein) in a disdainful way as they play a trick on someone in a mall.  Jason and Frye get ticked off and decide to get back at the shy introvert Ben by befriending him on Facebook with a fake female profile.  Ben finds himself falling for this fake profile as Jason and Frye continue escalating the relationship until Ben is eventually humiliated at school.  Needless to say, the humiliation ends in tragedy, changing forever the lives of Ben, his parents (Jason Bateman and Hope Davis), and Jason and Frye.

Another major story revolves around a news reporter (Andrea Riseborough) who investigates and befriends a young man (Max Thieriot) who was willingly hired to work on an internet porn site catering to those wanting to video chat with young men and women.  The final tale focuses on Cindy and Derek Hull (Paula Patton and Alexander Scarsgård), a couple who recently lost their only child.  While Derek tries to suppress his grief by online gambling, Cindy has taken up visiting grief community websites where she befriends a guy who says he recently lost his wife.  When the Hulls find their credit cards maxed out and their savings depleted, they begin to investigate whether Cindy's online "friend" is the culprit.

While all of these stories are perfectly acceptable and never teeter into "boring" territory, they also fail to be fresh.  I couldn't help but feel that I'd seen all of these tales told before on daytime television.  Thankfully, the acting ensemble is all pretty great from the youngest actors to the oldest ones and they elevate the material beyond the obvious.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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