Disconnect | Movie review
The Internet: Browse with caution.
The Internet, as we know, has the potential to bridge the communication gap between cultures and continents. Yet it’s not all smiley-face icons and lolcats on the World Wild Web, and thankfully, Henry-Alex Rubin’s ensemble drama is here to remind us of the evils that tablets, laptops, smartphones and other such devices do. For example, they allow you to enter support-group chatrooms, like the one that turns a grieving woman (Paula Patton) and her distant husband (Alexander Skarsgard) into the victims of identity theft. They play host to social media, which is where an alienated teen (Jonah Bobo) is cyberbullied and takes drastic measures, much to the concern of his BlackBerry-obsessed pops (Jason Bateman). And then there are the live-porn sites, the kind that help an ambitious TV reporter (Andrea Riseborough) get her big break via a story on a runaway underage stud (Max Thieriot)—but at what cost? Internet bad, people! You’d think it would connect folks, yet it does exactly the opposite. See the irony in that title now?
All the hand-wringing tech paranoia is merely an excuse for a microversion of Babel-like melodrama, one in which the loosely interwoven stories, regrettably, never add up to the sum of their parts. Worse, you can sense the actors bumping their heads against the ceilings of their one-note roles, trying vainly to add substance to characters who might as well be called “Stoic Numbed Veteran” or “Sexy Young Man in Psychic Pain.” Only Riseborough comes close to rising above it all, and even she’s undone by what may be the crassest climactic slo-mo montage ever. The lucky will have logged off by that point.