“The Discovery” – A Netflix Original Film
Directed by Charles McDowell
Is there an afterlife, and if so what would it entail? This film attempts to indulge that very possibility, and puts a wavering finger on the answer.
The story begins as the character Thomas Harbor, played by Robert Redford, is being interviewed in regard to “The Discovery” he made after 40 years of research. He claims to have created a machine that will take a person to the afterlife. His method has been released to the public as proof that no one should fear death, and the result of his findings catapult the masses into a worldwide suicide epidemic. At the time of the interview, the suicide toll has reached 1 million. Two short years later, the total number of those who took their own lives reaches 4 million.Throughout all of this misery, Thomas maintains that his research is autonomous to the reverberation his theory had enacted. He takes no responsibility whatsoever for the death of those millions. Of course, this all comes back to bite him, but he bounces back. Albeit a twisted and feeble attempt, he does put things into motion for his redemption.
“Proof shouldn’t be overwhelming. It should be definitive.” – Will -“The Discovery”
His sons, Will and Toby do not approve of their father’s work, but to varying degrees. Will is hell bent on stopping their father, but Toby is more accepting of their father’s faults, and still willing to lend a hand in his research. Will reluctantly get’s involved with his father’s work, when he meets and falls for Isla, after saving her from a suicide attempt.
“We’re a bunch of people running around making mistakes, and I don’t know why we think it will be different somewhere else, unless we learn what we’re supposed to learn while we’re here.” – Will – “The Discovery”
All of the characters in this film are super traumatized, so be prepared for the sadness. Lots of gray tones in this movie, and the colors that have been added by costumes, is very deliberate in its falsehood to brighten the mood. Oh, and you can count on the soundtrack to keep it nice and bleak.
Here are some of the aspects I appreciated about this story. I liked how intrigue was a main focus throughout the film. Quite a few question of “why”, but they were answered as the film progresses. The characters all had strong personalities, and were believable. I cared about what happened to them, and their back-stories were suited to the situation. The ending neatly summarized what the story was trying to convey. I know that sounded all clinical, but I never like to give too much away!
If I were to nit pick, I would say that I expected more from the outcome. I wanted the story to leap into the unknown with unabashed imagination. I wanted the ending to leave me hopeful, instead of feeling hopeless. Admittedly, I realize that my disappointment of this films ending is spurned by my own thoughts of life after death. It really comes down to creative license for this film, and that is as individual as any of our beliefs on this particular subject matter. In all truth, none of us are able to say with any certainty, what we will experience when we leave this place.
See this movie, if for no other reason than to boldly accept the challenge, of re-evaluating the purpose of your existence.