(US/UK - 2017)
Directed by Charlie McDowell. Written by Charlie McDowell and Justin Lader. Cast: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough, Ron Canada, Mary Steenburgen, Wendy Makkena, MJ Karmi. (Unrated, 102 mins)
Watching the Netflix Original film THE DISCOVERY, it seems completely feasible than director/co-writer Charlie McDowell (son of Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen) and writing partner Justin Lader (they previously worked together on the 2014 Mark Duplass indie THE ONE I LOVE) came up with a killer opening sequence and struggled to build a story around it. The first five minutes of THE DISCOVERY would make a great short film. A few years in the future, controversial physicist Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) is being interviewed by a TV news journalist (Steenburgen) on the one-year anniversary of what's come to be known as "The Discovery." Harbor is a household name the world over for finding irrefutable, scientific proof of the afterlife, demonstrating that the spirit breaks down measurable brain waves to a subatomic level as those particles venture to another plane of existence beyond our reality. Upon his presenting The Discovery to the world, death became the ultimate reward. People with terminal illnesses welcomed their diagnosis. The global suicide rate skyrocketed, as people had proof of what they now "know" is a better world waiting for them and they voluntarily check out to expedite their journey to that better place. Everyone from the homeless to the depressed to Hollywood celebrities and sports heroes started taking their own lives, with over a million suicides in the first year. As the interview goes along, one of the news crew's production assistants interrupts to say "Thank you, Dr. Harbor, for my fresh start," turns a gun on himself and blows his brains out on camera.