Title: The Discovery
MPAA Rating: TV-MA (R)
Director: Charlie McDowell
Starring: Jason Segel, Robert Redford, Rooney Mara
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins
What It Is: What happens to us when we die? This is the issue addressed by Thomas (Redford) a scientist who becomes absolutely obsessed with this question following an incident involving his son William (Segel) when he was younger. What he finds is that there is an afterlife. What that afterlife is is really the question that’s left to be uncovered. That is where his research has now shifted. With the help of William, his brother Toby (Jesse Plemons) and a mysterious girl named Isla (Mara) as well as his cult-like followers.
What We Think: As a concept, there are some really tangled webs being weaved here. What is really too bad is that the whole thing falls apart by the third act. Great performances by its cast are wasted on a script built on utter nonsense. Segel leads this thing wonderfully and Redford has that gravitas that only experience can foster. A lot of what tears the narrative apart is both the disjointed nature of the editing and the awfulness of the third acts “twist”. The entire third act is an irritating exercise in trying to outsmart your audience. Too bad it comes off more like trying to trigonometry with a crayon.
Our Grade: C-, What else can I really say except that I don’t recommend this one. It is on Netflix so those with the service will lose nothing by checking it out, except 102 minutes of your existence. Disappointingly mediocre. That’s the best I can do to explain this film. Either way, check it out if you want, but be prepared to think a lot about something that eventually fizzles out, in the most underwhelming way possible. A really sad one for me for sure.