Last Friday night, raining heavily. With the weather being miserable and having cancelled some plans, what else to do than to read a book and/or to watch a movie? After struggling with a few pages but not being able to focus properly I decided for the latter. And I knew exactly what I wanted to watch since I saw the poster at a bus stop on 23rd Street: The Discovery – a Netflix film in which Robert Redford is a neuroscientist who is being accused of being responsible for the suicides of millions of people after he proves the existence of an afterlife.
But is he right?
And should he feel responsible for so many deaths?
After all, people committed suicide because of his discovery, which he – as a reputable scientist with immutable convictions – says it’s “The Truth”.
To be frank, I was intrigued by the idea of the film and the first few minutes seemed very promising: the interview with Dr. Harber (Robert Redford) which is also presented in the trailer (see below) and which basically triggers the series of events to follow, a ride on the ferry where two strangers meet and fall in love, and beautiful New England-ish scenery (an agitated sea & gloomy skies).
But as soon as Will (Jason Segel) saves Isla (Rooney Mara) from drowning a couple of hours after they met, things tend to go awry. Will, whose name is definitely symbolic, is willing (wink wink) to prove his dad that his idea is wrong, but come on, you’re not going to convince a 70 year old to change his mind after forty years of work in the trenches. Instead, totally against his judgement, he agrees to go steal a corpse with Isla and his brother, a corpse Dr. Harber needs to prove, this time visually, that afterlife does exist.
I mean, hey, it’s nice to do fun things with your loved ones, right?
A quick observation: the movie is set in the era of iPads (which, by the way, Will uses to sabotage his father’s experiment), but Dr. Harber’s machines look like the Apple II computer from the late seventies. But maybe he is just an old school guy after all, so I won’t blame him.
Working behind his father’s back, Will finds out, surprisingly, that afterlife does exist, but this second discovery makes me think: if in the afterlife we will be conscious of another life that we lived and we will try to change things for the better, then why aren’t we conscious of an afterlife in this life? Or is it a mere coincidence what they’ve seen on the screens, just random outcomes that happen to set things right?
The last twenty minutes are hectic. Unexpectedly, after years of hard work and dedication, Dr. Harber changes his mind and wants the machine destroyed but something happens.
The finale is a bit chaotic but in the end, a sort of truth is revealed to us, which doesn’t leave us much space for questions. Not that I longed for more.
Jason Segel’s performance is poor in my opinion but it’s compensated by Mara’s and especially by Redford’s credible role.
I think this would’ve looked much better if it wasn’t a love story, as stated boldly in the description of the movie, but a deeper, more philosophical approach to the issue – as I initially thought it would be.
But you should watch it nevertheless… and you should let me know what you think. Especially if it’s a rainy night and you’ve got nothing better to do.