The U.S. premiere of the movie Disconnect starring Jason Bateman, Alexander Skarsgard, and Paula Patton along with a few up and coming stars such as 16 year old Colin Ford and 20 year old Haley Ramm, was screened at the Arlington Theatre on Thursday January 24. The film served as an amazing opener to the 28th Santa Barbara International Film Festival and set high expectations for the next two weeks in the hearts of those who attended.
The event began with a Hollywood red carpet backed with a backdrop displaying the International Film Festival and of the two main sponsors; Ugg and Lynda.com. The stars graced the carpet at 7:30 and, while the adults seemed comfortable and relaxed with the routine, while the starlings seemed timid and afraid. After everyone had taken their seats, the opening credits and a short film played followed by a few words from the director of the film.
The director took the stage saying he simply wanted the film to envoke feelings. That it did. Disconnect is unlike any film I’ve seen before. The dazzling cinematography was possibly surpassed by if not at least matched by the intense and captivating plotline.
The film follows three stories, intertwining in their common tragedy of human behavior combined with the misuse of technology.
It begins with a couple grieving the loss of their infant child. An all too common situation in society, they avoid the emotional termoil and turn to technology as a coping mechanism in place of communication. This leads to identity theft and the mental unraveling of Derek, played by Alexander Skarsgard, and his wife, played by Paula Patton.
We transition to the next storyline as two teenage boys in a gym take a sports drink into the bathroom and proceed to replace the contents with urine. They then put it back into the fridge for an unsuspecting victim to fall for their prank. As they wait, excited to see their plan in action we are introduced to a new character, played by Jonah Bobo.
High school outcast, long, shaggy hair, and lost in a world of his own creation, as he exits the gym after glancing at self-defense pamphlets, he notices the two boys crippled over in laughter as a bodybuilder inside spits his drink in disgust. By being a simple witness to this stupid prank, the boy has become a target in a tormenting fake facebook relationship that could potentially cost him his life. As the father tries to cope and learn about the son he may have lost and, even worse, never grow to know, he is called into work, handling a costly leagal dispute between child services and a reporter for a small news channel. This is the seamless transition into our third story.
A reporter, played by Andrea Riseborough, is tired of fluff stories and determined to make something of her career, starts her own investigation into the abuse of minors for explicit purposes. Riseborough meets the teenager online in one of the numerous illeagal sites and is determined to gain his trust in order to break the story. She is trapped in a battle between keeping her job or keeping the trust of the minor as child services requests his information.
The movie is brutaly realistic and shows the danger of technology and how it plays a critical role in our lives today.
“The movie was invented by the writer Andrew Stern when he was at dinner and five of his friends were on their cellphones,” said director Henry Alex Rubin in a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter. “Instead of talking they were just concentrating on their machines.”
Disconnect is an amazing story that the tech-savy generation should witness. Make sure to see the film when it becomes available in theaters in April.