I Origins (2014)
written and directed by Mike Cahill
I really enjoyed Mike Cahill’s first feature, Another Earth (2011), so I got excited when I first watched the trailer to his second film, I Origins, last year. Never mind that the trailer essentially gave everything away – I still wanted to see what he’d do with a tale of love and rebirth seen through the eyes of science. Not much, I guess.
The clunky script follows an atheist researcher (Michael Pitt) who hopes his studies on the evolution of the human eye will put an end to the idea of God. So far, so good. But then he falls for a free-spirited, spiritual hottie (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey) who does not share his logical view of the world (naturally). They decide to marry, but she dies in a freak accident and and he ends up marrying his lab partner instead (Brit Marling). Seven years later, the scientist has published a book that debunks creationism, yet he discovers his lost love’s identical iris pattern on a young girl in India. Could it be that the child is her reincarnation? Could it be the sign of a higher purpose in the universe? Could it be less obvious?
I Origins is intermittently interesting, but it’s too literal, too spoon-fed in its execution. Worse, the whole “somehow we’re all connected” vibe feels corny… and I’m allergic to corn. While I appreciate Cahill’s effort to go intimate and avoid the spectacle of like-minded films about the universe and our place in it, sometimes a little abstraction goes a long way.
Carlos I. Cuevas