The internet has insidiously crept its way into our lives. We’re all connected to this vast cyber realm a great portion of our lives is spent online (like me writing this blog at the moment). It’s a truly wonderful thing – the fact that we have the sum of human knowledge at our fingertips, the ability to connect with people around the world, and the great sites that collect funny pictures so we can have a giggle while we’re procrastinating…Anyway, the internet does bring with it some dangers including a false sense of security and people pretending to be what they’re not. A lot of people are more open with person information online as it strips away the filters, and I think a lot of people feel that the internet gives them a chance to express their real selves, and gives them an opportunity to provide them with solace that they can’t find in offline life.
Disconnect is a film dealing with some of these issues in three stories that examine the role the internet plays in our lives. It has an ensemble cast so I won’t list all of them, but some of the more famous names are Jason Bateman, Hope Davis and Alexander Skasgard. One of the stories deals with a reporter who is doing a story about a website using teenagers to perform for paying customers on webcams. Another has a ‘Catfish’ scenario and the third is about a grieving couple who have their identities stolen. All are real problems, although I’d imagine most of us would only be in serious danger of the latter two scenarios.
Now, I’m a real sucked for these types of films. I love the approach of skipping between the different stories, especially when they are woven together. In this film they only react incidentally and none of the stories really effects the other, but I still get a kick out of it when it happens. However, there is a danger with these types of films that one or more of the stories don’t hold much interest, and so you drift away during those parts while waiting for the better story to come back. I’m glad to say this isn’t the case here. Personally, I found the ‘Catfish’ story the most interesting, but the other two were still strong and involving with good performances all around. They play with your expectations as well, and the antagonists may not be as evil as they are initially presented, so the film has a good amount of complexity as well.
It feels really authentic too, and this could easily have been a documentary. I’m sure situations like these happen all the time and I know sometimes in movies computers and technology are used like magic, but here the focus is on the impact the technology has on our lives and it’s really well done. I thought all the performances were excellent and the direction was solid. I mentioned before that I’m a sucker for these types of stories, well I’m a sucker for slo-mo too, and the climax here has some intense slow motion scenes, and the stylistic choice really helps to heighten the tension, and the denouement afterwards provides suitable catharsis.
I thought it was a brave film with no easy answers or conclusions that is very relevant today. It gives you a lot to ponder and I think it’s one that’s definitely worth a watch.