I Origins (2014)
Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
In Another Earth, director Mike Cahill used the language of science fiction to explore indie-inflected themes of love, loss and guilt. I Origins treads a similarly (over?) ambitious path, building its three-way romance around scientific investigations of the evolution of the eye, which will, according to Michael Pitt’s cocky rationalist, disprove the existence of God. What starts out as an irritatingly quirky portrait of love at first sight gradually mutates into a debate about the singularity of the soul, the spectre of reincarnation rearing its unexpected head under laboratory conditions. While the last act falls into sub-Audrey Rose hokum, Pitt and Brit Marling play the existential tech discussions with an admirably straight bat, hooking more cynical viewers (myself included) at key points in the increasingly outlandish narrative. There are surprises too, one startling enough to draw gasps from the audience, suggesting that Cahill’s organic instinct for cinema may yet yield greatness.