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I Origins

I Origins (2014) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  106m  •    •  Directed by: Mike Cahill.  •  Starring: Michael Pitt, Steven Yeun, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Brit Marling, Dorien Makhloghi, Charles Woods Gray, John Schiumo, Farasha Baylock, Ako, Christopher Santamaria, Sebastian Santamaria, Cara Seymour, Rhonda Ayers.  •  Music by: Will Bates, Phil Mossman.
        Dr. Ian Gray is a molecular biologist who studyies the evolution of the eye. He finds his work permeating his life after a brief encounter with an exotic young woman who slips away from him. As his research continues years later, he makes a stunning scientific discovery that has far reaching implications and complicates both his scientific and spiritual beliefs.

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Review:

Image from: I Origins (2014)
Image from: I Origins (2014)
Image from: I Origins (2014)
Image from: I Origins (2014)
Image from: I Origins (2014)
I wish I could say that to Mike Cahill who in addition to being the film's director also serves as the sole screenwriter. This movie, if one could call it that, tries to be deep, philosophical and spiritual but winds up feeling pedantic and overwrought. As self- important and over-indulgent as this dreck can possibly be, those hoping for a frank, mesmerizing or lacking any of that accurate take on Eastern religion and philosophy will just have to settle for the cinematic equivalent of a fortune cookie. The emotional stakes of this film are so overwhelmed by the back-breaking acrobatics the film's script does to keep its characters motivated that I couldn't help but find the proceedings unintentionally hilarious.

But let's back up: the story starts out rather simply, Ian (Pitt) a biologist studying the evolution of the human eye, falls for perfect specimen, Sofi (Berges-Frisbey) at a Halloween party. He hunts her down because despite not seeing her face that night, he took pictures of her eyes and can identify them with an intensity that most would find creepy. They find each other, fall in love, and eventually make plans to marry. Then she dies tragically. If I wanted to put a spoiler alert I would have put it before that sentence. Years later after a series of increasingly contrived coincidences, Ian discovers that the irises of living people match the irises of the recently deceased and he tracks down Sofi's eyeball doppelganger in the hopes of discovering her possible reincarnation.

The idea in itself is not what I find stupid. Well not the stupidest at any rate. There are religions based on the idea of reincarnation and had the movie been better, I could have overlooked the logistical issues with this movie's view on it. Can people be reincarnated as a dog, cat or any other animal? There were points in Earth's history when there weren't as many "souls" so how does this movie account for that? Account for sin much; Nope. How about accounting for Dharma instead; Nope.

I Origins is just not very developed. Instead of actual story and plot we get a grist of loosely connected ridiculousness tangentially brought to fruition by our protagonist's little explained wanderlust. What are the odds that on the same day a marvelous lab discovery is made our protagonist marries his lady, gets blinded by formaldehyde then witnesses his wife eat it via freak elevator accident. If that's not the tragic backstory of a super-villain, I don't know what is. Years later, after Ian remarries, yet another little explained plot contrivance connects his newborn son to a deceased black dairy farmer in Boise. They find this out only because our protagonist has the funds, free time and inclination to go to Idaho to investigate what could have easily been a stock photo.

Then our grief stricken hero travels to India to track down a young girl who shares his former lover's irises in a final hour that leads any casual observer to conclude this guy has serious issues. He searches the streets of Mumbai for weeks and even puts up a billboard to find his lost lover all while being goaded to search by, of all people, his current wife (Marling). But just as he's about to give up, he finds her staring blankly at the freakin' billboard. Well that was lucky! Then the poor little Indian girl follows our hero back to his hotel room and fails his "scientific" test. They embrace anyway because "it feels right," never mind the fact that they didn't prove a thing other than people can have the same set of eyes and two American scientists have way too much time on their hands.

I feel like I Origins was originally a failed TV pilot. When they knew it wasn't going to sell they shot a few new scenes and re- imagined it into an incredibly overdone piece of fluff disguised as a laconic "thinker". Fact is the dialogue was stilted, the actors were all boring to watch and listen to, and as I have previously stated the script is contrived, contrived, contrived! I Origins joins The Fountain (2006) as the dumbest, watered-down, and offensive piece of western appropriation of eastern religious ideas since yoga was introduced to the American public. Turgid, lugubrious, and almost painfully artificial, I Origins is a movie I hated.


Review by bkrauser-81-311064 from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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Mar 13 2015, 11:10
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