Disconnect 斷了線 (2012) – USA

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 18th July 2013

Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Cast: Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgard, Max Thieriot
Writers: Andrew Stern

Film Distributed by Golden Scene
In cinemas Hong Kong from 25 July 2013.

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When a film have numerous lines of events linking them together, it is never easy and at most times, the resolution remains more corny than overwhelmingly emotional. So it is entirely refreshing to see “Disconnect” manages to connect to the audience from the get-go and link everything together till the inevitable dramatic finale. Not unlike Danny Boyle’s “Trance”, the film deals with difficult issues of underage pornography, crime, ethics, media and the consequences of our own actions. Director Henry Alex Rubin is every bit competent in linking all these very different, but important themes to tell a powerful message, even if it all seems far too over the top by the end. It is a highly commendable effort that is likely to engage and affect.

What makes “Disconnect” work so well is its ability to use the show-not-tell principle, thus allowing the audience to remain focused at the source on hand. The internet and technology has essentially changed the way we live and the manner we go about our lives. Internet dating has now become the norm and indeed cybersex is always going to be part of the fun. The film shows exactly how dangerous technology can really be and the terrible aftermath and consequences when it is misused. Pretending to be a girl on Facebook and flirting with a schoolmate may seem harmless and even funny to a certain degree, but when it goes over the top, cyber bullying has just as much impact, if not more consequences as old school bullying. Credit card fraud is also far scarier than you realize as the impact on one’s life can be enormous. This film succeeds in telling the audience about all these relevant and existing issues without being pretentious.

Jason Bateman takes on a serious role as the concerned father who takes a big hit in life, after his son (Jonah Bobo) got caught in the loop of cyber bullying and the resulting consequences that ensues. While, Alexander Skarsgard and Paula Patton plays a couple whose life is totally destroyed by their loss of child, before falling victim to stolen identity that ironically restore that their lifeless relationship. Another central story goes the route of exploring the underage cybersex industry as Andrea Riseborough plays a reporter who befriends a cybersex worker Max Thieriot and even attempting to save him, only to realize that she is only saving herself.

All in all, “Disconnect” is a good film that ties all loose ends and is clinically effective in depicting how technology has changed us both emotionally, mentally and physically. First time film writer Andrew Stern does a credible job in depicting and connecting all the personal stories together. Combining with steadfast direction from Henry Alex Rubin, the film is able to relate to the audience, striking the right chords and in the process providing the audience with a smart thriller to think about. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 8/10

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