A fair deal of science fiction has been devoted to the topic of what the afterlife could imaginably look like, but that’s always operating under the assumption that it’s real enough for the purposes of a given story. The Discovery, Charlie McDowell’s latest film, poses a far more unsettling question beyond that: what if it was proven, scientifically, that there is in fact life beyond our time on Earth?
The Discovery finds the world in turmoil one year after a scientist (Robert Redford) verifies the existence of an afterlife. As the film’s first trailer suggests, the global suicide rate has skyrocketed, leaving those remaining on Earth with unimaginable questions to answer. Jason Segel and Rooney Mara star as two of those left behind (not in the Kirk Cameron manner; this cannot be stressed enough) to figure out where to go from here, in a few different senses. McDowell’s debut feature The One I Love announced him as one of sci-fi’s more interesting voices of the moment, and The Discovery looks to continue in a similar vein of romantic, existential-minded speculative fiction.
Like seemingly half of the movies premiering at this week’s Sundance Film Festival, The Discovery will be released through Netflix on March 31st.