One of my favourite things about co-running a movie blog is that family and friends tend to talk to me more about movies they’ve seen or ask me for recommendations. You’ll see quite a few movies I’ve reviewed that have been suggestions from my Grampy, but this one comes, funnily enough, from my boss! He’s not a movie buff at all but watches whatever movie Channel 5 or Film4 put on each Sunday night, and tells me about them on Monday morning in the office.
The latest one he recommended to me was Disconnect (2012). I’d never heard of it before but it starred one of my favourite actors, Jason Bateman, and with a topic so close to my heart I knew I was going to have to hunt this movie down as quickly as possible.
Disconnect weaves 3 separate stories all with one connecting theme. The internet is a dangerous place. Kyle (Max Thieriot) is a chat-room stripper who winds up in a heap of trouble when Nina (Andrea Riseborough), a reporter, pays to chat with him as part of a story and the FBI get involved. Two school boys, Jason (Colin Ford) and Frye (Aviad Bernstein) play a prank on another boy in their school, Ben (Jonah Bobo) by creating a fake Facebook account under the name Jessica. Their prank goes too far and Ben’s father Rich (Jason Bateman) investigates. Then we have Cindy (Paula Patton) and Derek (Alexander Skarsgard), a couple with marriage issues after the loss of their child, who become victims of identity theft.
It’s actually one of the scariest movies I’ve seen, but not for the generic reasons. There are no jump scares or murderers here, this is a drama, not a horror. But the fact is, this is real life. There’s no need for a warning of “these events are based on a real life story” because this happens every day in the real world.
I can’t confess to knowing anything about chat-room strippers, but we all know there’s a dark part of the internet out there. Again, I’ve thankfully never been a victim of identity theft, but my fiance had his Playstation account hacked and funds withdrawn from his bank account. That was scary enough! On a much smaller scale, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, I fell victim to the cruel school prank. Some kids wrote me a love letter from a boy I fancied and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Social Media wasn’t a thing back then so it ended fairly quickly, but in this day and age, cyberbullying is a huge issue. Aww what horrid kids! Give me their names, I'll sort them out! It's okay, I'm over it, I swear...*sob*
My only complaint about Disconnect would be that I was so fascinated by each of the three stories, I’d like them to be movies of their own. There’s just not enough time to connect with the characters enough in this format.
I think Disconnect is a must watch for anyone who uses the internet on a daily basis, especially parents who didn’t grow up in such a connected world.