Tuesday, April 11, 2017

[Review] The Discovery

Netflix's The Discovery is a bleak and confused sci-fi drama of sorts that aims to be brainy and thought-provoking on both scientific and spiritual levels, but muddles in the process.

Robert Redford plays a scientist who claims to have discovered scientific proof of an afterlife--a plane of existence where the consciousness goes after one has died. Subsequently, the population's suicide rates spike as people trade their lives for a permanent trip to the other side. Meanwhile, the scientist's son (Jason Segel), who disagrees with his father's work, meets a mysterious woman (Rooney Mara) who's on the verge of attempting to kill herself. He stops her, and brings her to the secretive mansion where his father is conducting brainwave experiments.

While director Charlie McDowell's previous film The One I Love was an okay Twilight Zone-esque piece at best, The Discovery is Black Mirror-lite. Sure, it's well-shot and it captures a certain sense of drab dystopia, but it's filled with existential conversations and tests and studies that never really translate to anything cinematic beyond a bunch of images of wire hookups. Of course I wasn't expecting The Matrix or anything, but it's still all kind of bland, and it unwinds some weird and confounding twists that are just too loopy and derivative to be compelling. Jason Segel has proven that he can do serious really well (The End of the Tour), but here, he and Rooney Mara can't seem to muster up enough chemistry or conviction with this dour material.

In the end, The Discovery doesn't have much to say about the subjects it's tapping into. It's a big blah.

( 5/10 )

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