If the film’s poster isn’t clear enough with its advice to “Look up,” “Disconnect” focuses on how far families have grown apart over chasms of internet space. Though these extreme fables stretch far to make the film’s point, there is something to be said for a film with a purpose.
Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo) is a lonely teen; he has no friends, his sister (Haley Ramm) avoids him, and his parents (Hope Davis and Jason Bateman) are clueless and distant. He finds relief online in a girl that flirts with him, but he doesn’t know that the girl is actually a prank account created by teasing classmates (Colin Ford and Aviad Bernstein). Jason Dixon (Ford) acts out to get his father’s (Frank Grillo) attention, but he’s too busy investigating computer crimes. Derek (Alexander Skarsgard) and Cindy (Paula Patton) seek comfort online after the death of their young son in gambling and chat groups, but they become the target of an identity thief, which leads them to hire Mike Dixon (Grillo) for help. Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) is a reporter trying to develop her career by doing a report on adult websites featuring minors, but she puts her career in jeopardy when she befriends her subject Kyle (Max Thieriot). Each of these plots leads to violence to bring the characters to an appreciation for each other.
Full of actors just starting to become recognizable, “Disconnect” has many dedicated, strong performances. Like Oscar-winning “Crash,” the entire cast carries intense levels of emotion. Maybe Alexander Skarsgard shows too much anger, maybe Paula Patton is too weepy, but “Disconnect” emphasizes these strong emotions to show they are all human, all making bad decisions out of loneliness, but they can reconcile and forgive each other. Unfortunately, violence is the catalyst to healing.
The title is a command to the audience to relate to, rejoin, and appreciate your loved ones. Fans of “Crash” will still most likely appreciate the film, but some audiences might feel the theme is a bit too preachy.
Rating for “Disconnect:” B
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Disconnect” is only playing at Arena Grand in Columbus. For showtimes, click here.