Starring: Michael Pitt, Astrid Bergés-Frisbey, Brit Marling
Directed by: Mike Cahill (“Another Earth”)
Written by : Mike Cahill (“Another Earth”)
As many moviegoers who jump on board with everything director/writer Mike Cahill pitches to them in his new independent sci-fi drama/romance “I, Origins,” there are bound to be just as many who scream foul. Cahill isn’t the type of filmmaker who spells things out for audiences. Once they enter the black hole of this particular film’s narrative, there’s really no way to crawl out of it. Ask Cahill for help and he’s bound to be standing over you, shovel in hand, digging deeper.
Thematically, “I, Origins” is the type of film that could be considered implausible for people who walk into the theater with a mind closed to the possibility that not everything they believe on a spiritual front is true. With a number of recently released movies that have already catered to those who take their religious beliefs at face value (“God’s Not Dead,” “Heaven is for Real,” “Son of God”), a film like “I, Origins” might rub a few the wrong way just like Darren Aronofsky’s interpretation of “Noah” did back in March. (How fictional rock monsters are more fantastically absurd than Biblical talking snakes, I have no idea).
Still, Cahill has something to say and, despite the fact he doesn’t define or categorize anything with much initiative, he does present a number of complex ideas for people to sift through and come up with their own theories. If you can stand to do a little work (and aren’t the kind of moviegoer that automatically disregards clashing and sometimes convoluted theories as pretentious banter), then “I, Origins” just might be a film to deem beautiful, uplifting and philosophically deep.
In the film, actors Michael Pitt and Brit Marling play two molecular biologists, Ian and Karen, whose research leads them to believe that God may not exist based on experiments they are conducting on worms. As far-fetched as that may sound to some, Cahill carefully crafts his script around a peculiar love story between Ian and an exotic woman, Sofi (Astrid Bergés-Frisbey) whose eyes become the catalyst for Ian’s lofty hypotheses – one that will disprove creationists worldwide.
Extremely ambitious all around, save for Pitt’s static performance, “I, Origins” not only explores the idea that a higher power does not exist, it also delves into topics like soul mates and déjà vu and everyday coincidences (like looking at a clock at the exact time it changes to 11:11). It’s a smart film that covers its bases and plays out like a mystery as Ian travels across the world searching for answers that may never come.
With Cahill in the driver’s seat, you can definitely bet on those answers not being served on a sliver platter. And that’s not a bad thing at all. If you like your movies wrapped up neatly with a nice little bow, “I, Origins” is going to be a tough one to get through. For everyone else, there hasn’t been a more thought-provoking film this year.