Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Movie Review: "I Origins" (2014)

Movie"I Origins"
Director: Mike Cahill
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
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A scientist named Ian (Michael Pitt) is obsessed with eyes, as each has its own unique pattern. He thinks that mapping the evolution of the eye will disprove the existence of God. He and his lab partner Karen (Brit Marling) are looking for a blind animal with genes that will allow it to develop eyes, or, be an origin species. While working on this, Ian meets a woman named Sofi (Astrid Bergés-Frisbey), whom he was drawn to because of her eyes. They start a passionate affair, but an unfortunate accident cuts Sofi's life short. Seven years later, a new eye scanning program has drawn some exact iris pattern matches in children that were born shortly after the death of another person. It turns out Sofi's iris pattern has an exact match in a young girl in India that may totally turn everything Ian believes on its head. 

Though the concept of the movie is quite intriguing, it fails to impress on more than a basic level. It's another one of those films that thinks it's really smart and full of scientific knowledge, but ultimately is nothing more than a romance shrouded in philosophy and science 101 jargon. The ideas of philosophy and science versus religion and spirituality are debated throughout its entirety, though in our opinions, poorly done so. The main character Ian is painted as extremely close-minded, but as a scientist, isn't part of his job to open-minded about the possibilities of life and science? In the film, he's working on something no one has ever thought of or discovered before, so that obviously makes him open to many possibilities, and yet they make the whole reason he's doing these experiments to disprove the existence of god. No scientist would do an experiment to disprove the existence of a spiritual entity...right?? Science is a method for observing the natural world, a way of understanding things. His attitude is one of a belligerent atheist, wherein if he disproves the existence of god by finding the origin species, people will automatically stop believing and having faith, as if the only reason people believe at all is because they don't know the evolutionary pattern of the human eye.

While it attempts to discover these questions and uncover the science behind them, the answers just aren't there, and if they are, they are poorly integrated into the film and reduced to a shallow debate with no real depth whatsoever. The acting was good enough, though we don't necessarily believe Michael Pitt as a microbiological scientist. Director Mike Cahill likes to use Brit Marling a lot and she managed to be more believable as a scientist, mainly because she's the one doing all the scientific work, as opposed to Pitt's Ian, who is off gallivanting with his girlfriend Sofi for half of the movie. It seems like Astrid Bergés-Frisbey is only in this movie to serve as a pretty face, someone with gorgeous eyes for a billboard and an accent to give her some sort of sophistication and to make her character more exotic. If you strip these things away, she could have been replaced with almost anyone else because her acting wasn't all that great.

As we mentioned the story could have been an interesting one, but it was a big undertaking that ultimately fell flat for us. With a bit more tweaking and more thought put behind the project, it could have been a deeper debate that raised real questions and had a real presence as a film.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 47%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "2 Guns"

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