I Origins is the next directorial debut by Mike Cahill, director of Another Earth. Mike Cahill not only directed I Origins, but also wrote the interesting science-fiction film all about the human eye and the consequences of life after death.
I Origins begins with a party in which oddly enough a scientist (Ian) goes around taking pictures of people’s eyes. He ends up meeting Sofi (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) who he loses sight of. The next day he goes to the lab and we find out his day-to-day routine as a molecular biologist in the study of eyes in a way to disprove God’s existence or some divine power. The thematic motif of Science vs God is very present throughout the whole film as a demanding tour-de-force of how faith is tested in even the most die-hard and unbelieving of people. After his girlfriend is tragically taken away from him, Ian ends up for some odd reason marrying his lab assitant Karen (Brit Marling) in terms of making what becomes a weak story even weaker. We have the incredible acting power of Astrid Frisbey to somewhat blame for our dislike of Brit Marling’s Karen in this film. The loss is felt by the audience and it never leaves, while also making Ian look like a moron. 10 entire years pass and it turns out that someone with the same eye patterns as Sofi exists in India, which sets Ian off to India to test his solid belief of whether God or some divine power exists out in the cosmos that ends up putting a person back into a new body (good or evil people alike – which Mike Cahill told me this is the idea of the sequel).
I Origins stays truthful to the name and while we anticipate the sequel very strongly, we could not help but feel this first title in the franchise feels weak and rather a failed experiment in storywriting part of the way. Ian’s motivation for seeking out Sofi again in a different human body seems to indicate more than just trying to prove a theory, and his marriage to Karen just seems like a pitiful story mistake to keep things interesting or add a sort of inside viewer to Ian’s experiment. Brit Marling’s acting was decent, but she felt entirely useless in her performance to the script and we felt Ian’s best lab friend (Steven Yeun) would have fared better in her place – even if he was busy filming The Walking Dead at the time.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars