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    Disconnect Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Lionsgate

    Sep 09 2013 01:30 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    The world of the internet can be filled with information, fun, even wonder, but it can also be a gateway to cruelty, danger, and, sad to say, crime. Henry-Alex Rubin’s Disconnect focuses on the latter tenets of internet communication in a series of cross-pollinated stories revolving around the misuse of the web and its effects on a handful of people and families.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Lionsgate
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
    • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
    • Rating: R
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 55 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraViolet
    • Case Type: keep case in a slipcover
    • Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 09/17/2013
    • MSRP: $24.99

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    Derek Hull (Alexander Skarsgård) and his wife Cindy (Paula Patton) are victims of identity theft so heinous that their checking and savings accounts have been drained and their credit cards maxed out. With the police swamped with such cases, they hire retired “internet cop” Mike Dixon (Frank Grillo) to look into their problem and find out who has ripped them off. Dixon, a widower, has an uneasy relationship with his son (Colin Ford) who’s been busy with a friend pranking an introverted goth teen Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo) by creating a fake teen girl that he falls for in an internet chat room, a trick that leads to tragedy. Ben’s father Rich (Jason Bateman) is the legal representative for a local TV station whose crusading reporter Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) has discovered older teen Kyle (Max Thieriot) who is making a living on a live porn site, a story she exploits into a major feature which gets national exposure. All of these interlocking stories build to a climax of discovery and near-tragedy before the film concludes.

    Andrew Stern’s screenplay features a crisscrossing motif similar to Crash (small wonder a trailer for that 2005 Oscar-winner appears on the disc) offering bits and pieces of all of these stories as they slowly wind they way to their individual climaxes, but the writing seems a bit too pat down the line (too many coincidences for comfort), and Henry-Alex Rubin’s direction, while keeping the constant internet written communications at least interestingly placed as graphics on the screen, plays peek-a-boo with the audience as he shoots through windows, fences, over hedges, and any other place he can put the camera as if he’s eavesdropping on what’s going on rather than making a fictional film. And there are also breakdowns in character development that don’t ring true: the experienced reporter who smokes weed and makes out with her teen subject, the couple who decide to take matters into their own hands in tracking their identity thief (don’t they need to be working to pay off that massive debt?). The slow motion climaxes, one on top of the other, are also a bit pretentious, but the tales are undeniably engrossing if not very original, so there is that curiosity to know what happens next even if one must endure the director’s too obvious stylistic touches to get there.

    The performances are first-rate across the board. Jason Bateman plays it straight in a nice change of pace dramatic role that he handles with real commitment. Likewise, Paula Patton and especially Alexander Skarsgård bring richness to the devastated couple dealing not only with identity theft but the bottoming of their marriage after the death of their young son. Max Thieriot has lots of charisma as the internet rent boy who’s unashamed at the way he’s earning money while Frank Grillo as the internet ex-cop and Colin Ford as his prankish son later filled with anguish over what he’s done make a most believable father and son. Andrea Riseborough does an excellent job as the guilt-racked reporter even if her role is the most weakly developed of the principals.

    Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Overall, it's a very unpleasant image. Contrast is all over the map with the presentation sometimes draining the image of rich color and sometimes giving characters orange-like flesh tones. Sharpness is above average but never quite razor sharp, and black levels are likewise never optimal. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix utilizes Max Richter’s haunting theme and brooding score as the source of almost all of the film’s surround encoding element. Ambient sounds are pretty much stereophonic in nature rather than consistently utilizing the entire soundstage. Dialogue has been well recorded and has been placed in the center channel.

    Special Features: 2.5/5

    Audio Commentary: director Henry-Alex Rubin delivers a very low key discussion of the film’s production with too much time spent describing what’s on the screen.

    Making the Connections (27:18, HD): producers Mickey Liddell and William Horberg, writer Andrew Stern, director Henry-Alex Rubin, and stars Jason Bateman, Frank Grillo, Paula Patton, Alexander Skarsgård, and Andrea Riseborough comment on the genesis of the project and their reasons for wanting to be a part of it.

    Recording Session on “The Nature of Daylight” for Disconnect (4:16, HD): composer Max Richter rehearses the orchestra and then records the theme for the film while director Henry-Alex Rubin observes and comments.

    Promo Trailers (HD): Black Rock, Now You See Me, Crash, Mud.

    Ultraviolet: enclosed code and instructions in the case.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    A not uninteresting if not particularly original drama entwining a series of stories all bound in some way to the internet, Disconnect would make a decent rental for those interested in the story or the actors.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
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