Popcorn Preview: Disconnect

Film: Disconnect (2012)
Cast includes: Jason Bateman (Up in the Air), Hope Davis (The Weather Man), Frank Grillo (The Grey), Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Paula Patton (Precious), Andrea Riseborough (Made in Dagenham), Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Max Thieriot (House at the End of the Street), Colin Ford (We Bought a Zoo), Jonah Bobo (Crazy, Stupid, Love)
Director: Henry Alex Rubin (Girl, Interrupted)
Genre: Drama | Crime | Thriller (115 minutes)

"I went to the post office. I'm just bringing your stuff," says Kyle as he drops packages off with half-naked housemates. Next we see Kyle on Nina's laptop screen. "Are you even 18?" she asks. "Yes, I'm 18... Can we go private?" Nina just wants to chat. "You don't want to watch me jack off or play with toys. You just want to chat?" In the next sequence, we're following Jason and Frye, a couple of teens who clearly love practical jokes. After a while, they need to move beyond pranks like peeing into people's water bottles. That's when they notice Ben Boyd, the weird kid from school. They soon get the idea of creating an online identity of "Jessica" and starting a cyber conversation with Ben. Meanwhile, Derek's got a flight to catch and doesn't have time for the conversation Cindy wants to have. One look at the empty crib and we put two and two together... they recently lost a child and still have grief to work through. Maybe that's why Cindy resorts to online chat with "Fear & Loathing." F&L recently lost his wife, so he understands what Cindy's going through.

It doesn't take long for Jason and Frey (aka Jessica) to get a chat stream going with Ben... he even sends her one of his songs. "I was afraid you'd think it was weird." "Weird is sexy," says Jessica. Kyle and Nina's sessions aren't going quite like Kyle's normal sessions go. "Do you ever think about what you're going to do when you can't do this any more?" she asks. Honestly... that's not something Kyle spends time worrying about. When Derek tries to use his Master Card, he discovers it's maxed out. "I'm sure it's a mistake," Cindy says. It's damn inconvenient to be on a business trip without a usable credit card... but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Someone has stolen their identities and cleaned out everything. When the police turn out to be useless, Derek and Cindy call a private detective who specializes in cyber crime. That's when they find out that their computers have been hacked and the clues point to Fear & Loathing. In the meantime, Ben is in for an unfortunate surprise with Jessica, and Nina turns out to be a journalist in search of a news story. Despite how it starts out, things really can get out of hand.

It turns out there's a real disconnect between the ease of cyber crime and cyber mischief versus the messiness of real-world consequences. But you probably already know that. Like a ripple effect, more individuals become involved and it all gets very complicated. Disconnect isn't one of those crime thrillers where everything gets neatly resolved in the end... we soon realize that it isn't going to be possible. But it's still fascinating, seeing where this story is going to go. At the heart of the narrative are individuals who are searching for human connections. When they don't find those connections in the real world, they assume it won't do any harm to search in the cyber world. "Do you have any idea what you've done?"

3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
Cyber crime and cyber mischief seems so easy, but the real-world consequences are complicated and messy

Popcorn Profile
Rated: R (Language, nudity, violence, sexual content, crime, drugs)
Audience: Grown-ups
Distribution: Mainstream wide release
Mood: Neutral
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Not that kind of film
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment & Thought provoking

Read more Popcorn Previews at www.popcorndiary.com