Put down your phone and read this review of the ensemble drama, Disconnect!
Disconnect is one of the best films Iíve seen so far in this early movie year, which has been rather disappointing, lifeless, and dull. Itís great when a movie comes along that challenges you as an audience member and allows you to be completely absorbed and involved in the lives of fictional characters. The film also has a lot to say about technology and how it affects our ability to see whatís right in front of us. Too often, we are guilty of paying more attention to the phone than a living, breathing human being that needs our time and attention.
The film follows a few different groups of people who have all been negatively affected by technology in one way or another. There is the Boyd family which includes Rich (Jason Bateman), Lydia (Hope Davis), Abby (Haley Ramm), and Ben (Jonah Bobo). Their dinner consists of telephones being rapidly texted and awkward silences. Everyone just goes in their room and does their own thing without really knowing the people that they live with every day. Thereís also Mike Dixon (Frank Grillo) and Jason Dixon (Colin Ford), father and son constantly in conflict with each other after the passing of Jasonís mother.
Alexander Skarsgård and Paula Patton play a married couple that lost their baby and now Cindy (Paula Patton) is seeking companionship in a chat room to deal with her grief. Thereís also an ambitious reporter played by Andrea Riseborough that is interested in the story of Kyle (Max Thieriot), a young teen who makes money by doing live web chats in a house full of runaways. She sees him as an interesting story that will propel her career in the news industry. He sees her as a hot client that would be a great partner in bed. The Internet sure works in interesting ways.
Disconnect is aided by its incredibly talented cast that brings itís A-game to this project. They add emotional depth, humanity, and empathy to their characters. They are all flawed in their own ways, just like everyone is, but ultimately itís nearly impossible not to care about them and what happens to them. The stand out for me is Frank Grillo who is such an incredibly powerful actor with unbelievable range. He has been producing great performances for quite some time now in films such as The Grey, Motherís Day, and End of Watch just to name a few. Jason Bateman also turns into a marvelous performance as a father that is looking for answers.
In every great movie, there comes a time where you give yourself up to the film and it has your complete and full attention and nothing else matters but whatís happening on screen. That happened to me with Disconnect. About twenty to thirty minutes into the story, I was hooked and on the edge of my seat following every move and the consequences of their actions. This is a great movie and one that deserves to be seen if you are looking for counter programming at the box office right now and something a little outside the box. Disconnect is a powerful movie that has a strong message about the negative effects of technology and it delivers that message without ever preaching.
The 411: On the ride home, I couldnít stop thinking about this movie and everything that had happened in it. They felt like real people dealing with real issues and struggling to get ahead, communicate, and connect. The screenplay by Andrew Stern really has its pulse on the world today and just how much we really do use these devices in our everyday lives. There are pros and cons to everything of course, but sometimes all we need to do is put the phones down, ask questions, and get to know people. It would save us all a lot of trouble. I highly recommend this movie.