Starring: Jason Segal, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough, Mary Steenburgen
Directed By: Charlie McDowell
Plot: A scientist (Redford) makes a discovery proving that there is an afterlife, which triggers mass suicides all over the country. On the two year anniversary of “The Discovery”, his son Will (Segal) makes a trip to see his father, who he disagrees with. He discovers a cult-like place, and a troubled woman (Mara). But Will is about to make a discovery of his own.
What Works: The last part of this film is really good. This is a film that requires you to sit through a lot of slow moving exposition, but the last third of the film is just a ton of payoff. The ending to this film literally blew my mind. I wish the whole script had managed to be evenly entertaining, but damn… that’s a fantastic ending. Don’t let it get spoiled for you. Watch The Discovery immediately. I also loved the score, and the cinematography. This film looks really good. There are times, and shots, where it feels a little like a Terrence Malik film. I wouldn’t be surprised if Malik was a huge influence for McDowell.
What Doesn’t Work: I can’t really say the acting is either good or bad. I’d say it doesn’t really feel special, and every actor has had better performances. My biggest grievance for this film is that this film takes a while to get going. I can’t completely hate it, because the ending ties in a lot of why things happened the way they did during the first half. I just think it could have been a bit more dynamic.
Final Word: Seriously, I love this ending. I think this is a really imaginative script, sure with pacing issues, but original. We keep asking for original features from Hollywood, and this is definitely original. I’m sad that Netflix isn’t giving this a theatrical release. It’s getting buried this week by the launch of 13 Reasons Why, so you might not even know it dropped today. This film deserves a lot more attention than its getting. Stick with this film, the ending is the payoff.
Final Grade: B+