Disconnect Blu-ray Review
The Internet has been one of the most significant innovations in history. It has brought us closer to people we want to know, facts we wants to consume and, of course, cats we wished we owned. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to step away from the computer or put down the phone. It’s also no wonder it can make so many people so vulnerable. DISCONNECT tracks three cases of the dark side of the Internet—one of cyberbullying, one of identity theft and one of underage sex sites.
The first involves two teenagers, Jason (Colin Ford, WE BOUGHT A ZOO) and Frye (Aviad Bernstein, Showtime’s RAY DONOVON), who are the kind of boys who urinate in drink containers and wait for a victim to take a gulp. Out of boredom, the two pose as a sexy teen online to tease a classmate (Jonah Bobo, CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE), who they coax into sending a nude photo of himself. Soon after, the pic makes it way around the hallways…
The second sees a married couple, Cindy (Paula Patton, JUMPING THE BROOM) and Derek Hall (Alexander Skarsgård, HBO’s TRUE BLOOD), having their funds liquidated and falling victim to identity theft, with the potential for worse…
The third concerns a TV reporter, Nina (Andrea Riseborough, SHADOW DANCER), who gets involved with one of the young employees in a house of online strippers, who log on in between party sessions and rounds of Call of Duty…
DISCONNECT is directed by Henry-Alex Rubin, who co-directed the 2005 documentary MURDERBALL. It would have been a great subject for a documentary, but then the movie wouldn’t have had to opportunity to contrive a bunch of forced and random links between its characters. (The movie is structured in a CRASH-esque way for no other reason than to be lumped in the same category as Paul Haggis’ Oscar winner.)
The movie’s clear purpose is to highlight some of the dangers that lurk online, which have been covered on the news for far too long now. In its insisting urgency, DISCONNECT wants us to “look up” (as the tagline goes), and spend less time fiddling with computers and iPhones and more time actually communicating with our peers and those at our dinner table. This is, of course, an issue worth exploring, but the approach, which is too often heavy-handed and on-the-nose, making DISCONNECT feel like an after-school special with the advantage of having a generous budget and talented cast. (Jason Bateman, as a distracted dad of the humiliated teen, offers the standout performance by giving a surprisingly strong dramatic performance.)
DISCONNECT, which played at both the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, tackles a lot of deep subject matters in its runtime. Unfortunately, so much is left unresolved. This seems less because of the complexity of the cases or to underline that there may be no clear end in sight for cyberbullying or identity theft and more because writer Andrew Stern (the TV movie NURSES) couldn’t bother to come up with endings with depth.
DISCONNECT BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This high-definition presentation has a very clean look to it and offers a fine amount of detail and texture, particularly in the characters’ faces.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. This is a surprisingly strong audio transfer that adds layer through atmospheric sound effects and a nice Max Richter score.
Audio commentary with director Henry-Alex Rubin: Rubin spends far too much time commenting on what’s onscreen to offer the insight that fans may be hoping for.
Making the Connections: Behind the Scenes of DISCONNECT (27:18): This featurette tracks the production of DISCONNECT through interviews with producer William Horberg, writer Andrew Stern and more.
Recording Session of “On the Nature of Daylight” for DISCONNECT (4:16) takes a look and listen at Max Richter’s score.
Also included is UltraViolet.