Peer to Peer Magazine

Winter 2014

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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WWW.ILTANET.ORG 27 WWW.ILTANET.ORG 27 by Andy Spiegel Andy is a creative director and freelance writer. A lifelong movie lover, he maintains a movie review blog called Andy's Private Screening Room at jasscreeningroom. Andy can be contacted at Full disclosure: DISCONNECT will never be remade as a musical comedy. It's dark, disconcerting and, at times, downright downbeat. Nonetheless, for anyone who relies on computers, mobile devices, social media and all-things-Internet for business or pleasure — and who better than ILTAns does that describe? — it's a must-see. The movie's overall theme of how the Internet is sabotaging our real-life relationships and how vigilant we must remain in our online dealings is presented in three loosely linked tales. None of which has a happy ending. IDENTITY THEFT In one, grieving parents (Derek and Cindy) turn to the Internet rather than to each other as they struggle to deal with the recent loss of their child. For Derek, that means digital distraction in the form of online poker; for Cindy, it's talking with an anonymous person in the chat room of a support group. Because of their online activities, the couple's identities are stolen. In desperation, they hire a computer forensics expert (Frank), but their situation goes from bad to worse. CYBERBULLYING We learn that Frank is a demanding, single father with a rebellious son ( Jason). For kicks, Jason and a classmate (Frye) instigate a cyberbullying campaign against a high school outcast (Ben). Ben is lulled into believing he has a budding girlfriend, but when they exchange inappropriate photos, the situation explodes. SEX-CHATTING Ben's dad (Rich) works at a TV station as legal counsel. One of his co-workers is an ambitious reporter (Nina). Seeking to further her career, Nina talks her editor into agreeing to an expose on child exploitation. Nina contacts a young man (Kyle) via a sex-chat line and learns about the unsavory online business world he's in. Nina meets Kyle in person and confesses she's a reporter. He agrees to let her write his story, and she develops a bond with him. This soon turns into a genuine desire to help him escape his dire circumstances, but then Nina learns Kyle has been playing her from the get-go. In DISCONNECT, the characters in these three stories live in very different worlds, but what they have in common is their dependence on connecting via the Internet. Whether emailing clients from the dinner table, texting one another on phones and tablets, gaming online, seeking solace in a chat room or looking for online love, these people are far more connected to 1's and 0's than to their families and friends, and, unfortunately, each person comes to regret it. Other than Jason Bateman (decidedly uncomedic in this role) and one or two other actors you might recognize, the superb DISCONNECT cast is populated largely by unknowns, which adds to the film's authentic feel. Yes, this no musical comedy — you'll probably come away feeling more dispirited than uplifted — but it is done well and is filled with characters we all know and situations we can relate to. DISCONNECT delivers tough-love messages and reminders far more valuable than a happy Hollywood ending. DISCONNECT A trio of cautionary tales about people experiencing the risky downside of modern communication technology.

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