Sundance Review: The Discovery
Imagine a world where scientific proof of the afterlife has been discovered. Such a world is where the film The Discovery takes place. Human life has considerably altered since the discovery, as many people's views on suicide have evolved. Pure curiosity has enticed people to take their lives, not to end them...but to see how they continue on another plane of existence. Jason Segel plays Will, the son of the acclaimed scientist Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) who changed the world with his findings. Will has always been skeptical on whether or not his father's evidence should be accepted as fact, and when he meets Rooney Mara's Isla, his beliefs are put even further to the test.
Several films that came to the festival this year had really cool premises, but The Discovery might have explored theirs the very best. The world director Charlie McDowell creates is a fascinatingly bizarre one, yet somehow seems simultaneously seems like a plausible one. He masters the tone of the film in keeping it mysterious enough that the audience isn't sure whether to doubt along with Will or to believe like everyone else. He poses a lot of questions in the film and the joy comes in waiting for the answers.
Jason Segel and Rooney Mara make a strange pair, and occasionally it's hard to buy. Fortunately, though, both actors were dedicated enough to make it work, and their efforts were not in vain. But The Discovery isn't so much about the characters as it is about the journeys they take. I'd heard some mixed reception to the film before I saw it about how they didn't care for the ending, but when I saw it I felt that it only made everything stronger. The Discovery is an interesting film that takes a concept and explores several different facets of it and does it well. Thankfully for those clamoring at the bit to see this film, it will debut in March on Netflix...so you won't have to wait all year to see it. RATING: 8.5/10