Doesn't it seem like everyone is wired these days? Doesn't anyone talk face-to-face anymore? This recent trend has permeated everything we do; if you don't believe me, take a look: LOL; BFF; OMG; W8; BTW; BYOB (kidding...); FYI; ETA; ASAP; RSVP (well, okay... not EVERYTHING is recent)....
With this in mind, brace yourself for an exciting film that addresses our digital world, with grief counseling chat rooms, cyber bullying, on-line sex, and identity theft, plus general e-mails, texting, GPS units and Facebook. It is NOT boring; there isn't a wasted scene, an unnecessary line or a plot hole left unfilled. Kudos to director Henry Alex Rubin ("Murderball" - a terrific documentary) and scriptwriter Andrew Stern ("Return to Me" - one of my favorites), for a movie about moral dilemmas and ethical quicksand that keep us engaged and involved every step of the way.
* Jason Bateman ("Identity Thief") is a successful attorney named Rich, whose adolescent son is very troubled. Dad puts it down to normal teenage angst. Bateman just gets better and better; he is extremely effective in this one!
* Hope Davis ("Real Steel") is Lydia, the mother of that same boy; she is more alarmed by their son's behavior than her husband. This actress never makes a misstep; how does she do it?
* Jonah Bobo ("Crazy, Stupid, Love") is Ben, their awkward teenage son who is the target of cyber bullying. Our hearts go out to this kid as we share his misery.
* Haley Ramm (Lots of TV) is Abby, the loyal but embarrassed sister of the dorky misfit. This young lady has developed into a terrific actress.
* Alexander Skarsgård ("True Blood") gives us Derek, a successful fellow we can relate to; however, his toddler died, his wife is grief-stricken, his marriage is on ice, and his identity has just been stolen. The whole Skarsgård family is amazing; in this film, you can't tell he's from Sweden!
* Paula Patton ("Ghost Protocol") is Cindy, Derek's grieving wife, who visits the chat room without his knowledge. With their bank accounts in limbo, it is a short, humiliating slide to living in a motel.
* Michael Nyqvist ("As It Is In Heaven") is Stephen Shoemacher, whom Cindy meets in that grief therapy chat room.
* Frank Grillo ("Warrior") is a former cop, now a cyber crime expert, hired to investigate identity theft. He's really good with computers (so's his son...). I'm keeping my eye on this actor!
* Max Thieriot ("The Family Tree") plays Kyle, the (very) handsome, (very) charming, (very) young man who makes his living via on-line porn. This former child actor has developed into an appealing capable actor! (He reminds me of a young Ryan Phillippi...and that's good!)
This involving film runs four parallel stories with no confusion, building each to a crashing climax and we never question which story we're seeing. This is a solid-gold script and the direction brings up everyone's game. There are NO clichés and that climax has to be seen to be believed.
Expect no gunshots, no vehicular mayhem, no blowie uppie stuff, no sweaty bodies, no profanity, and no drug use (well, one little scene with some pot); on the other hand, you can expect people to root for, suspense, excitement and top-notch acting. I've already pre-ordered my DVD from Amazon.