Take a Drink: for closeups/snapshots of eyes (per scene, not per eye if you value your liver/life)
Take a Drink: for hypothesizing
Take a Drink: for coinky-dinks
Take a Drink: On second thought… be careful with that eye one.
Do a Shot: for… proof?
By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
Another Earth was one of the more striking sci-fi debuts of recent years, with its fusion of science, philosophy, and emotion. It helped launch the career of Brit Marling, who received a lot of credit for co-writing and starring in the film, but director Mike Cahill was also a key part of what it did well.
With I Origins, he returns to that sweet spot of themes. Michael Pitt stars as a scientist out to unequivocally prove the evolution of the human eye, and thereby disprove the assertion that only an intelligent designer could produce something so complex. He meets and falls for a spirited and spiritual young woman (the incredibly named Astrid Berges-Frisbey), but a late twist in their relationship throws his beliefs or lack thereof into question.
Cahill is certainly ambitious, tackling several philosophies and viewpoints on the big questions of life, the universe, and everything in a unique way. Cahill uses montage, indie-inflected music, and a meandering pace studded with flashes of coincidence and tragedy to create a dreamlike mood that ultimately sticks with you longer than the philosophical pondering of the script.
Cahill proved in Another Earth that he’s one to watch visually, delivering some truly stunning compositions on a major budget, and he tops himself in many ways here with some spectacular pans and handheld camerawork, infusing practically every moment with style in a way that feels organic and logical for the scene even as it enhances it.
As opposed to just slapping a filter on that bitch like an addled Instagram junkie.
The acting is also generally strong. Pitt has established himself as a memorable (and ageless?) presence in pretty much everything he’s in, and gets to display his range here- skeptical and soulful, driven and haunted. Marling also shows up in a supporting role, and she’s so different that I didn’t even recognize her at first, not because of a change in look so much as a change in attitude. She’s one of the best actresses out there. It’s also nice to see Glenn from The Walking Dead and Kalinda from The Good Wife getting some film work.
Let’s be honest, that title is awful. A lot of the dialogue also has that “thinks its clever, sounds like pretentious Philosophy 101- inspired Facebook quotes” problem.
You’ll notice most of those brain-numbing lines come from the mouth of Berges-Frisbey’s “like not shitting you really magic” pixie dream girl. This is a movie about spiritualism and faith, but mostly in that “crazy Aunt Cindy who keeps trying to give me crystals” kind of way.
Of course she was reincarnated as a poor Indian child.
The plot admittedly uses coincidences very consciously, but even then makes some head-scratching leaps of logic and plot to fall together. You noticed that the pictures from your kid’s “autism test” are all from some small town in Idaho? Do you, A: call and ask the doctor, or, B: immediately fly to Idaho? Exactly.
I Origins is a beautifully shot and acted film with some interesting ambitions concerning the juxtaposition of faith and science, which is undercut by a deep throughline of hokiness.
Last Call: Stick around after the credits for the perhaps inevitable next step in the program.