The Discovery - 2017
The Discovery marks another 2017 Netflix exclusive plucked from the Sundance Film Festival. Set in a world where the existence of an afterlife has been scientifically proven. Due to this discovery, the rate of suicides skyrocket and the scientist begins to feel the weight of each death on his shoulders. Along with a unique premise, this movie boasts a great cast in Robert Redford, Jason Segel, Rooney Mara and the very underrated Jesse Plemons.
The opening of this movie almost made me quickly give up on it. Starts out with the first interview done by the scientist, played by Redford, after his discovery. During the awkward interview, one of the news’ crew members gets up and kills himself on live TV, thanking him in the process. This sequence was poorly executed and it just felt rushed. Not the best way to introduce your audience to this new world.
Jason Seguel takes another swing at becoming a “serious” actor, following up his surprise performance in 2015’s The End of the Tour. While I think, he did a better job as David Foster Wallace, he wasn’t the weak link of the movie. He plays one of the sons of Redford and is in disapproval of his father’s work. His line delivery was solid and he never felt out of pace within the story. Rooney Mara plays... Rooney Mara again and its fine I guess, she serves the purpose of her character. I always fail to see her as anything else other than herself (with Girl in the Dragon Tattoo being the exemption to the rule).
Robert Redford is solid, I mean its Redford what else did you expect. It’s not my favorite Redford performance in recent memory (2003’s All is Lost being my favorite).
My stand-out is Jesse Plemons as Segel’s younger bother. His playing a completely different character than 2016’s Other People. I’m really enjoying his versatility and his movie choices throughout the years. I first took notice of him in 2012’s The Master and haven’t been disappointed in him yet. He plays his character with a hint of sarcasm, but always staying within the serious tone of the movie.
So, while I appreciated the weird narrative they decided to go with, I found myself checking the time code, to see how long I had left. The movie has a lot of intriguing and compelling scenes that grab your attention, but not nearly enough of them. Having this movie take place (for the most part), in this cult-ish compound lead by Redford, gave the movie a great visual look. Having the actors in the background wearing specific colored cloths to contrast the general grey look of the film was a great touch. There are some more visually compelling scenes throughout the movie, many of them used during the trailer, stand-out being Mara walking into the water with her back toward the camera.
The ending reminded me a lot of Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Honestly this isn’t the worst movie in the world and it’s not the best, its serviceable at best. I watched it at home sitting on the couch with my dog on my lap and had a fine enough time. Found myself looking at my phone or playing with my dog, a pug and he is awesome, name is Winston. He is five years old and… Sorry I got distracted again.
I guess that’s my biggest problem with this movie. The premise is interesting and compelling, the actors are solid and the direction is good, but I was distracted. If you look at my review above, I talk or reference other movies more than I talk about this movie. I’m extremally happy that Netflix is providing a home for independent movies outside of the film festivals and I will continue to support them. For what is worth this movie’s premise (confirmed afterlife) got stuck in my head and I pondered a lot over it. I tried to put myself in the main character shoes and I couldn’t come up with a straight answer as to what I would do and that’s why I love movies.
The Discovery is currently streaming on Netflix, watch it if you want… did I tell you guys about my pug?
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