29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Powerfully Disturbing Portrayal of the Disconnection in Today's World,
This review is from: Disconnect [DVD + Digital] (DVD)
"Disconnect" may be one of the most thought-provoking films to come down the pike in recent years that paints an accurate and frightening image of what life looks like now, due to our dependence on the internet, and where it might lead if people don't realize the damage that is being done. The internet is a powerful, useful tool, but the daily abuse of it is almost beyond the scope of comprehending. "Disconnect" gives us an idea about how widespread and frequent that abuse is.
There is a certain amount of irony that our world has become so much closer in the way we communicate. We can literally converse with almost anyone on the planet. I grew up during a time when pen-pal letters from school was about as "close" as I ever got to talking to someone from another country. However, the closer we have become with our communication, the larger the chasm in our connections with others.
"Disconnect" focuses on three main story-lines. The first involves, Ben Boyd, a young high school boy who is basically a loner and an outsider. It's clear that he has few, if any, friends, and he spends much of his time writing and composing music. Even his family seems to barely acknowledge him, especially his father, a successful lawyer who is always busy and even finds his son to be a bit odd as well. Two kids at his school decide to play a "prank" on him by setting up an online profile, and masquerading as a girl who is interested in Ben and his music, thus taking advantage of his vulnerable state of wanting to connect with someone. I don't think a film has ever given us a clearer or scarier depiction of the kind of damage people can do through manipulating others, especially online where you have no idea who you are talking to.
The second story-line involves young, ambitious reporter, Nina Dunham who decides to do a piece of investigative journalism about runaway teens and the jobs that many of them end up doing online in order to make money. She connects with Kyle online and disguises herself as a customer in order to establish a connection and get her story. Little does she realize the avalanche of trouble that this causes, not only for Kyle, but for herself as well.
The third story-line involves a young married couple, Derek and Cindy Hull, trying to deal with the loss of their infant son. They don't talk to each other much, and Cindy's only outlet of communication is within a chat room where she finds solace in an unknown person who listens to her anguish and pain. Suddenly, their worlds are tossed upside down when someone infiltrates their computer system and steals most of their money.
The performances in this film are all first-rate. I have not seen Jason Bateman tackle a role this deep and complex, and he is fantastic as Rich Boyd who is trying to find out what happened with his son as well as finding out who is responsible. And while his anger is obvious toward the perpetrators, he quickly finds that much of that anger is toward himself. Spending nearly every moment online and dealing with clients, he barely has time for anyone in his family, and he quickly sees what that indifference has cost him.
The movie does not depict the characters in any form of "black" or "white." Each character is complex, and we find ourselves sympathizing, to some extent, with all of them. Perhaps that is why this film is so realistic and layered, just as people are in life. We may not know the reasons for why people do the things that they do, but as the story progresses, we begin to understand the motivation.
"Disconnect" is literally a must-see film. It will force you to ask yourself how much time do you spend online every day? How often do you converse and interact with people online as opposed to face-to-face? How much time do you spend with your family as opposed to being online? And how much manipulation and cruelty is perpetrated by kids every day toward other kids that they dislike by using the power of the internet to hurt them and exploit their vulnerabilities? The internet has made it so easy to disconnect from people. People feel safer and more comfortable in front of a monitor than dealing with others or themselves. We have heard it before: information is power. And it is incredibly frightening to see just how powerful it is, and how much damage can be caused when it is abused. The scary part about this movie is that each of these abuses are small reflections of what is going on every single day around the world, and we know that they are! And still others have, themselves, been a victim of some form of the type of violations that are depicted here.
Our dependence and reliance on technology for disconnecting, and not having to deal with people face-to-face is greater than at any other time in history. And the danger is just as real and poignant as the film depicts. I hope this movie serves to "awaken " people to how they are spending their time, how much they are connecting with the people that they love in their lives, and how much they use the internet to disconnect from those same people and the problems that they choose not to face.
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Initial post: Nov 5, 2014 9:22:42 AM PST
Great job writing a perfect review!
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