Director: Charlie McDowell
Imagine if there was a scientific evidence that afterlife exists. What would you do?
You would possibly face an ethical choice of considering to end your life and head towards a better one, or you would enjoy your time on Earth more knowing there is something out there for you.
In The Discovery, the first choice is the one millions of people make, and thus the world is faced with mass suicides for people are opting out of their current lives in hope they will find a better one.
The ethical question here is a very interesting one, for people have been making choices about ending their lives for centuries. It is enough to remember the 1190 massacre of Jews in York when majority of persecuted Jews committed a mass suicide to avoid falling into hands of mobs who wanted to forcibly convert them to Christianity. Those who refused to commit a suicide did not meet a better fate for they either burned in the castle or they were slaughtered (see here).
It is also enough to look at the suicide rate to understand that the question of suicide is an important decision many people are making. For example, data for 2015 shows there were 6, 1888 suicides in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland (Samaritans UK, 2017). In other words, more than 7000 people in these two countries alone made the decision that is problematized in Netflix’s new movie.
However, the movie also plays with an idea of religion being pushed to the extreme. As we know, all major religions believe in afterlife. However, this is just a religious creed and there are people who dismiss all religious beliefs stating there is no evidence of afterlife or divine existence whatsoever. In this movie, this creed is then scientifically proven, and the film thus shows what would happen if religious creeds are pushed to the extreme.
While the idea is interesting, the film is very slow. In a sense, a depressing atmosphere and music of the film make sense for the topic is quite heavy too. However, the story could have developed in a faster way. For example, a scene where they are trying to connect dead body with a computer to broadcast afterlife is painfully long, which was not necessary especially since the attempt was unsuccessful. The same is with some conversations, i.e. while the film makes an attempt to have meaningful debates and to an extent is successful in that endeavour, the debates are sometimes unnecessarily long to the point when they become meaningless. I am certainly a fan of debates in meaningful films (for e.g., see my blog on Listen), but this is not it. Sadly.
Thank you for reading.
Samaritans UK (2017). Suicide Statistics Report 2017. Available at: http://www.samaritans.org/sites/default/files/kcfinder/files/Suicide_statistics_report_2017_Final.pdf (Accessed 7 April 2017)