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Everyone Should See the "Disconnect" Film
Wow! What an excellent movie about the current state of many families in the age of the Internet and smartphones. After seeing this movie, you think about it all of its ramifications because they all could happen to your own family or self in the digital age.
It is so well acted with Jason Bateman and Max Theirot (from the Santa Rosa area, BTW) and other lesser know stars, Disconnect is yet another superb "sleeper" film that most will miss because the studio is not pushing it into many theaters. This was the case with Silver Lining until it got the Oscar.
Disconnect centers around three main stories involving different families. There is the professional family where everyone is busy with their own problems and lives and there is a "disconnect" as a caring family unit because of it. Their teens are typical, but their son is a real loner but very smart. Lives on the fringe of student popularity and most think he is just "weird". The daughter is popular. Two teen boys begin to cyber-bully him as a prank, faking their identify on Facebook as a girl who thinks he is "hot". The loner buys it. Soon, this fake girl (the teen boys) sends a picture of teen girl taken from a magazine who is naked. In the text they want him to send a photo of himself naked. The loner does and soon it is across the viral cyberspace. Like in real life, he freaks and hangs himself. Of course, the pranksters never meant for it to be like this, yet, they could never stop.
The other story is a real horror, a financial horror, where a loving couple who have just lost a baby, now have their lives wrecked when their financial information is stolen and their bank savings drained. As time goes from worse to bad, they get desperate, angry, frustrated that the police are so slow in finding this hacker. The hacker was someone that the his wife was secretly texting in a online chart room because their marriage was falling apart. Or was he?The couple decides to take take the matter into their own hands with near dire consequences when they hunt him down after a private investigator thinks he locates him. The key word is "thinks".
The remaining story involves a young journalist trying to get a scoop on runaway youth turned cyber sex provider, played by Max Theriot. He should get an award for his role, just as Justin Bateman should in the the first story. The reporter meets him online and for money he will do anything. He works in a secluded home with other runaway teens selling their online selves for a price. It is sex talk and sexual acts over cyberspace for a fee. They all work for a cyber pimp, in return, they get some money and a "home". The reporter tries to convince Max to flee and seek a better life, yet when he elects to do so, the reporter backs off with the actual helping him.
Jason Bateman is superb in portraying a concerned father who tried to save his son after realizing how much he has neglected him. The large portion of computer chat is displayed by text overlaying on head shots of the authors. It seems so real because these events happen!
None of the characters are lovable but you cannot help but feel sorry for them and keep asking what went wrong. Then, you reflect on yourself and similar issues or situations. It also makes us reflect what we need to do, as parents, as a classmate, as a regular net shopper to be really connected with people we care amid this overflow of information technology.
In the end, it is about family and love that really matters and seems to get lost in this technology driven world. Technology is actually disconnecting everyone not bringing us closer in a real, warm, satisfying manner. Does a text to a loved one satisfy you? would a phone call be better? How about being face to face? Touching? Caring?