Movie Review – The Discovery

Movie Review – The Discovery


Rating:  2 (out of 5).  In Netflix’s new film The Discovery, Robert Redford plays a scientist who has invented a device that records brainwaves as they leave the body after death. This device proves the existence of an after-life, but it leads to millions of people committing suicide to find out what this new level of life is. The critics found this disappointing in spite of the all-star cast and intriguing premise. They thought it started out strong, but fizzled out quickly and turned into a basic family drama.

The New York Times writes “The tale becomes part puzzle, part science-fiction thriller and part love story as Will and Isla clash with Thomas over his work and its implications. The cast also includes Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough and Mary Steenburgen, and the story stays intriguing for much of the way, but eventually things cease to make sense.” They think “You’re left thinking that the most interesting stuff was what happened immediately after “the discovery,” the part of the yarn that the film skips over.”

The Los Angeles Daily News calls this “an occasionally intriguing new film.”

The Boston Globe doesn’t think “The Discovery” is “worth two hours of your time on Earth.” They say it is “a dull, nonsensical, sterile mess that left me with a headache and a tinge of annoyance from having wasted my time. A premise with great potential devolves into the gloomy story of a strange cult.”

The Las Vegas Weekly writes “With its big-name cast, Sundance premiere and sci-fi high concept, The Discovery seems like it might warrant a theatrical release, rather than a Netflix debut. But the movie’s ambitions turn out to be disappointingly small-scale, and what starts out as potentially thought-provoking science fiction quickly fizzles into a mediocre family drama and a dull romance.”

The Salt Lake Tribune states “The Discovery builds into a meditation of sorts on death and grief and the regrets that pile up in a person’s life.” They note “in the final reel McDowell and Lader pull off an audacious switch, an “Inception”-like twist that will make audiences either exasperated or enthralled.”

The Houston Press notes “Segel, however, can’t quite keep up with his co-stars, his anger and intensity glaringly on the nose. His deficiencies become a problem when the story twists into a kind of detective tale about Will trying to track down clues that will help him understand what his dad’s machine is really recording.” They think “The bigger problem: We know before Will does. McDowell masterfully hid his story’s twists in The One I Love but doesn’t pull it off here. “

The Orlando Weekly  states “If you’re under the impression that this premise borders on the too-bleak, you’re not alone. Director McDowell and cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen infuse nearly every scene with the color palette and mood of the first half of a commercial for antidepressants, giving the impression that the world at large is suffering from an extended bout with depression.” The say “The Discovery feels more like an overly bleak episode of Touched by an Angel.”


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