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Review: Disconnect

Disconnect-PosterWith a handful of weighty storylines, “Disconnect” can be a lot to digest, but thanks to impeccable transitions, well-calculated story overlap, and a congealing tone, the film doesn’t feel like a sampling of stories, rather a look inside a well-developed world.

“Disconnect” highlights three scenarios, all with connectivity at the core. Kyle (Max Thieriot) is an 18-year-old kid making money by performing on an adult-only website. When journalist Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) stumbles upon his page, she sees his unique story as the ideal expose. Jason (Jason Dixon) and his buddy Frye (Aviad Bernstein) are your typical high school kids, honoring the social ladder and addicted to Facebook. The pair gets a kick out of bullying class loner, Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo), by creating a fake profile and convincing Ben that a girl has a crush on him. Then there’s Cindy and Derek (Paula Patton and Alexander Skarsgård), a couple targeted by an identity thief eager to exploit their passwords, bank accounts, and deepest secrets.

Director Henry Alex Rubin doesn’t waste a second, pulling you right in using a single shot to follow Kyle through his home. The place is packed with kids who seem fairly typical and in good spirits, but then comes the reveal – the building is actually a teen-driven online porn operation. But still, Kyle clearly feels good about his work and it’s no wonder; he’s particularly nice to look at and quite the charmer. While you’re remorsefully admiring Kyle for being the best of the best, when Nina steps in to offer him a way out, you’re presented with a surprisingly conflicting scenario. Clearly the right thing to do is to help Kyle live a more noble life, but he’s happy and really is being taken care of by his boss. There are glimmers that suggest Kyle isn’t the brightest of the bunch and every now and then Thieriot loses his charm and feels more like a threat, but the chemistry between him and Riseborough is powerful enough throughout that their scenario forces you to juggle all the various potential resolutions at once, hoping both can wind up having what they want while also knowing it’s just not possible.

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