The Discovery (2017), Dir. Charlie McDowell

The Discovery (2017), Dir. Charlie McDowell
...Reality and fantasy are mutually exclusive. They don’t exist in the same space.
— Will, The Discovery (2017)

Stars: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough.
Director: Charlie McDowell
Screenplay: Charlie McDowell & Justin Lader.

Two thirds, two thirds of this movie is good. It has a classic distopic-type formula, the cynic that sees the "Discovery" while the rest of the world gets amped and jumps right on board. The cynic, Will (Jason Segel) is our door into the world as he explains the POV of us, not the world that has accepted suicide as a way to the new afterlife with Isla (Rooney Mara) as the other side of the argument. There is even a classic cult-like world that follows the discoverer Thomas (Robert Redford) that I can definitely get behind. But there is a lack of something that doesn't let this film rise from mediocre.

The reasons are that the simple premise of finding scientific proof that the afterlife exists should have been enough of a plot device but instead of discussing the implications of what this information will do to society, McDowell takes it one step further that is not well explained or even explored other than as a plot fork that our protagonist must deal with.

Which sucks because the afterlife and what happens in the afterlife are amazing mysteries and grounding it in science is insanely cool but it never delves deeper, and it is never intriguing enough for you to try to fill in the dots. With the last mini act I lost all my curiosity for the premise as it felt cheap as though I saw the little hints that this is where it was going but their was no creativity in it. Black Mirror San Junipero, an hour long episode does this idea more justice, Trance builds the hints far better than The Discovery. It just needed another couple of drafts in the writing room and this film could have been a cool little early 2000's type indie high concept like The Jacket or The Butterfly Effect.

★ ★ ★