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Disconnect (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 115 minutes.

Not for children.

Crash (2004) started it all and won an Academy award for best picture with four separate vignettes, all of which came together at the end. This is the same style, telling about an ambitious attorney who spends more time on his cell phone than with his family, a married couple who is the victim of identity theft, a widowed former policeman with an adventurous son who cyber bullies a classmate, and a journalist consumed by ambition who wants to establish a reputation by reporting about a teenager who performs on an adult only website.

Well directed by Henry-Alex Rubin from a script by Andrew Stern, the ensemble cast is led by Jason Bateman, who foresakes his heretofore comedic reputation to act in a straight drama. He is joined by a good cast of supporting players, like Michael Nyqvist, who played the lead in the Swedish (and better) version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009), Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Alexander Skarsgård, and others, all of whom perform at a high standard. Special mention must go to 16-year-old Colin Ford, who plays Grillo’s mischievous son who causes huge problems. He displays admirable range in a difficult role.

This is a movie with mounting tension, not an easy one to watch. Especially difficult is the cyber bullying segment; difficult and very well done. It shows the thoughtlessness of teenagers, how they pick on people who are different with no thought to the consequences, and it shows the consequences. This is the kind of movie that can have a beneficial effect if enough teenagers watch it.

I have to admit, however, that I thought it ended with a thud. Maybe that’s the way life is. Even so, this isn’t life, it’s a movie! Rubin should have worked to get a better ending. Up until the last five minutes, though, this is thoroughly engrossing.

April 4, 2013