I Origins – Movie Review

I OriginsI Origins – R
Release Date: Wed 24 Sep 2014

I Origins takes a particularly volatile argument and transforms it into something of a story conveyance to discuss grief and comfort. Somehow it manages to do this without taking a firm stand in that argument and is therefore likely to leave those who have already made up their minds a bit dissatisfied. There’s a split-second scene where a character is reading The Blind Watchmaker and the camera scans across the National Geographic issue where they found the Afghan woman from an earlier cover based solely on her eye pattern.

Michael Pitt plays Ian, a scientist looking to prove that not only could the human eye have evolved, but that it is a fact that it did by reproducing the evolution itself. He meets Sofi (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) at a Halloween party where she is wearing a mask that conceals her entire face except for her eyes. He photographs them, with the photography of the uniqueness of irises being both a professional interest and personal past time. As you may suspect from the trailer, Sofi dies and her eye pattern is found in a database.

What you may not suspect from the trailer is that the movie spends a great deal of time detailing years of time between Sofi’s death and Ian’s eventual quest to find the matching eyes in India. This aspect that seems extremely far-fetched in the trailer is explained in so much detail that some viewers may become bored waiting for the trip they go into the theater knowing is coming.

I found myself on that side for most of the running time, but trusted writer/director Mike Cahill after his 2011 Another Earth turned out so well. I found the ending to be so satisfying and have to admit that the story did an expert job of exploring the science vs. spiritual debate without trying to educate or convert me as a viewer. What mattered, in the end is what Ian found in his search for closure rather than enlightenment.

Juliette, Christian and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:

IOrigins

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