Rooney Mara and Jason Segel may be a match made in heaven, but in a film where the discovery of an afterlife leads millions to kill themselves in an attempt to reach the otherworldly destination faster, it is perhaps important to emphasize that they are, in fact, a match made on earth. “A man and woman fall in love while coming to terms with their own tragic pasts,” reads the synopsis of Netflix’s The Discovery, and when framed against the alluring presence of the hereafter, this love between Mara and Segel’s characters will likely come to embody all that is valuable in our earthly lives, the fleeting but beautiful things that are worth holding onto for as long as possible.
The film’s haunting premise and the characters’ romance appear via suggestion in the mysterious first trailer for the film, which dropped earlier today. The “teaser” lives up to its name by generating lots of questions but very few answers, opening with an ostensibly idyllic portrait of romance set against a spry doo-wop tune before devolving into an ominous montage of hospitals, water, a pale-faced apparition filmed in black-and-white, and guns pointed at both others and self. In a brilliantly unsettling move, the trailer maintains the basic doo-wop tune into its latter segment but slows down the tempo and distorts the instrumentals, generating a profound feeling of uncanniness by taking something that was familiar to us from the trailer’s opening and making it disturbingly strange.
The Discovery is directed by Charlie McDowell of The One I Love fame, which makes sense given that both films track a romantic relationship in the context of extraordinary circumstances. The newer film, which also stars Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons and Riley Keough, is one of the most promising early 2017 releases on account of the talent involved and the movie’s riveting story.
The Discovery will premiere at Sundance before debuting on Netflix on March 31. Watch the trailer above.