Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Henry Alex Rubin's "Crash"-meets-the-Internet roundelay "Disconnect" is slick, watchable, and structurally sound for the first hundred minutes but doesn't know how to end in the last fifteen and winds up with little to say. The three primary interlocking storylines involve cyber-bullying, identity theft, and the exploitation of minors on sexually explicit websites.
The bullying one we've seen dozens of times before; you know from the first scene exactly where it's going, though Jason Bateman does a nice, understated job as the bullied boy's father. The sex-site one feels truest in showing us a bunch of needy kids sharing a sex house and an allegiance to one protector/pimp, but falsest in its contrivance of a television reporter becoming intimate with her star-making interviewee. The identity theft storyline is most interesting because it gets away from the computer screen to fill in its portrayal of the tenuous marriage of an ex-Marine and his wife, who can't get over the death of their son. Alexander Skarsgård and Paula Patton deliver fully committed performances in these parts. The movie builds to a climax of physical violence, consummated and unconsummated, whereas a subtler denouement might have given it greater resonance.