In 2014, Charlie McDowell made his directorial debut at the Sundance Film Festival with “The One I Love,” which starred Elizabeth Moss and Mark Duplass as a couple on the rocks seduced by doubles of themselves at a therapy retreat. Three years later, McDowell returns to Sundance with a similarly alternate reality, also revolving around a love story.
The title refers to a discovery made by Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) that he can scientifically prove the existence of the afterlife. As a result, people are taking their lives with abandon in order to “get there.” Rooney Mara and Jason Segel play a couple trying to prevent the barrage of suicides. A digital counter hanging on the wall ticks off the number of deaths, with a child’s smiling face written next to the words: “Suicide is not the answer. Stay in this life.”
The trailer begins like any other quirky romance, but as the upbeat Doo-wop song slowly distorts so do the images onscreen, and Mara and Segel go from exchanging loving glances to wrestling with body bags. Riley Keough and Jesse Plemons co-star in the unnerving love story, with a script co-written by Justin Lader (“The One I Love”).
“The Discovery” will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, January 20th. It will launch globally on Netflix Friday, March 31st.