Combustible Celluloid
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With: Michael Pitt, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Brit Marling, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi
Written by: Mike Cahill
Directed by: Mike Cahill
MPAA Rating: R for some sexuality/nudity, and language
Running Time: 113
Date: 07/18/2014

I Origins (2014)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

In Your Eyes

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Mike Cahill made his feature debut with Another Earth (2011), which was written by the brilliant, talented and beautiful Brit Marling. And while Marling is still here in a supporting actor capacity, it appears that Cahill may do better under her influence. I Origins is a bit too long and a bit too repetitive, and a little too generous with its eye-related imagery. Cahill seems to be playing coy with all these eye references, but they aren't subtle enough to really surprise or challenge.

Molecular biologist Dr. Ian Gray (Michael Pitt), whose hobby is photographing people's eyes, and his new lab partner Karen (Brit Marling) are studying the evolution of the eye. They find an origin species with no eyesight at all, a worm, and start from scratch. Meanwhile, Ian meets his dream girl, Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). But after he loses her to an accident, his computer database of eyes shows a shocking discovery: certain eye patterns appear to be re-used, passed on from person to person after death. Ian travels to India to track down the new owner of Sofi's eyes, to see if any part of her soul remained behind. The answer to that question could change everything.

I Origins is more romantic than scientific, and it seems eager to accept a supernatural solution, when it should place that burden in the audience's hands. Yet, these days, any sci-fi movie with the barest hint of a science-related idea is a welcome rarity. And above all, the movie is certainly thoughtful and deeply heartfelt, and it could be hard for dreamers and romantics not to get swept up in the love story. For many viewers it will be a satisfying experience.

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