In The Discovery, the existence of life after death has been scientifically proven by Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford). After its announcement, suicides have become radically widespread, as millions choose to end their lives in order to move to another plane of existence. In the second year anniversary of the discovery, Dr. Harbon’s estranged son, Will (Jason Segel), visits his father’s isolated compound where he is conducting the next stage of his research on the afterlife with the help of his other son, Toby (Jesse Plemons), and a cult-like group of assistants – all of whom had attempted suicide before. Along with Isla (Rooney Mara), a woman he has stopped from committing suicide, Will Harbor seeks the meaning of life and turns to Dr. Harbor’s latest experiment for answers.
What I like about this movie is that it satisfyingly explores the social, moral, and metaphysical issues that arise if science verifies the certainty of the afterlife. And it gives its viewers a lot of thought-provoking questions to chew on. At its core, The Discovery is an interesting piece of psychological science fiction.
The storytelling falters at times. And the gloomy atmosphere (which is arguably necessary for the movie) makes the narrative dry and a little bit boring at times. However, the story as a whole totally works. It even reminds me somewhat of Arrival. Though it’s not as great, it gives the same kind of convincing, thoughtful, and ambitious impression. It also has a tinge of Flatliners going for it.
The Discovery isn’t necessarily a “fun watch”, but I thought it was rivetingly contemplative in nature. It’s a movie that requires one’s full focus – a struggle sometimes because it does get dull – but it also gets very absorbing and pleasingly profound. And, by its end, when the puzzle pieces are finally fitted together, it left me a satisfying (but not awesome) “mind blown” feeling.