Film Review – Disconnect (2012)

Title – Disconnect (2012)

Director – Henry Alex Rubin (Murderball)

Cast – Jason Bateman, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Thieriot, Hope Davis, Paula Patton, Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist

Plot – Examines the effects of our tech-focussed lives through the interconnected stories of a collection of big city citizens who have all “disconnected” in some way from their lives and from those closest to them.

“Everything you do, someone out there can see”

Review by Eddie on 02/04/2020

Curiously overlooked upon initial release in 2012, despite a loaded name brand cast and topical subject matter, Murderball filmmaker Henry Alex Rubin’s first foray into fictional features is one of those rare films that 8 years on seems more relevant and necessary than ever as it shines a light on a changed society living in the technology loaded era.

Taking the Babel/Crash approach to storytelling by interweaving multiple characters and storylines around each other, Disconnect sees Rubin explore the dangers and pitfalls that surround our new landscape as his realistic characters and their relatable lives play out before us in a drama that isn’t afraid to take us to the dark places that exist due to our modern landscape.

Directed in an uncompromising fashion, that also feels fresh and ageless when watched today, Disconnect explores teenage traumas at the hands of social media misuse through the Jason Bateman lead Boyd family, identity theft and depression issues that have appeared in Alexander Skarsgård’s and Paula Patton’s married couple and the seedy side of internet life portrayed through Andrea Riseborough’s investigative reporter and her newest subject matter found in Max Thieriot’s Kyle.

It doesn’t make for light viewing, with Disconnect constantly at home in the dramatic space with barely an ounce of levity to be found, but Rubin has found a realistic ground to base his story around that would be hard to walk away from unaffected by.

Lead by some strong turns, with Bateman and Riseborough in particular putting in some of their finest work, a strong musical accompaniment by musical master Max Richter and strong screenwriting by Andrew Stern, Disconnect is a strong all-round package that combines to create a memorable whole without ever delivering wholly unique ideas in this space.

It’s perhaps the lack of an original identity or unique identifiers that stopped this confronting look at modern society from truly breaking out, which is a shame as the issues it addresses, while not new by any means, remain important and necessary for us to all contemplate as they have only but grown in the time since Disconnect first arrived.

Final Say –

Lead by some great casting and strong messages of a needful nature, Disconnect isn’t easy or highly original viewing but its topical subject matter makes it well worth tracking down.

3 ½ hockey sticks out of 5  

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