Writer-director Charlie McDowell returns to Sundance this year with a thriller about a scientist (played by Robert Redford) who uncovers scientific proof that there is indeed an afterlife. His son is portrayed by Jason Segel, who’s not too sure about his father’s “discovery”, and Rooney Mara plays a mystery woman who has her own reasons for wanting to find out more about the afterlife.
Barry Brown, Park City, UT
User Reviews: ‘THE DISCOVERY’: Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A sci-fi romantic drama about a world where an afterlife has been scientifically proven, and how that knowledge drastically affects society. It was directed by Charlie McDowell, and it was written by McDowell and Justin Lade (the duo also teamed on 2014’s ‘THE ONE I LOVE’). The film stars Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough and Ron Canada. It’s received mixed reviews from critics, and it was released by Netflix through their streaming site. I found the movie itself to be a little disappointing, due to the extremely promising premise and setup.
The story takes place two years after ‘the discovery of an afterlife’, by Thomas Harbor (Redford). The scientific proof of an afterlife has caused an extremely dramatic increase in suicides. Thomas’s son, Will (Segel), blames his father for the high suicide rate. He travels to see him, at an isolated mansion, where Thomas is doing more research on his findings. Will meets a suicidal woman on his trip, named Isla (Mara), who he later prevents from killing herself. He then brings Isla to his father’s mansion, and the two assist him in his research there. The whole time Will is extremely skeptical about the damage they’re doing to society, with these new findings.
The movie is extremely dark and depressing, for almost it’s entire running length. Like I said, the idea for the film is really intriguing, and fascinating, but it’s definitely not fun watching it play out. The performances are decent, and the climax is somewhat interesting, and unpredictable, as well. I had hoped for a lot more from it though, when I started watching it.