The idea behind I Origins is a very interesting one but unfortunately, it takes so long to get to it. I Origins will test many people’s concentration levels as it slowly builds the main character and his quest for truth about existence and the creator. There are no clues to what the movie is about or where it is going. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing except that if the movie crawls at the pace this one does, slowly lumbering towards it’s main focus, you may not have the patience to stick around for the interesting third act.
It is a shame because it has all the ingredients for a very clever, complex movie. Rather than focus purely on the science and the interesting concept of our eyes, their individual, unique personal elements and how this can disprove or maybe even prove the existence of God and an afterlife, the movie takes at least an hour to develop the central relationship which forces this quest upon our central character.
This relationship is an interesting one and develops in a way you won’t expect. Michael Pitt plays the sceptical scientist who falls in love with Astrid Berges-Frisby’s spiritual model. It is a nice relationship to watch progress but doesn’t really offer either performer anything too difficult or dramatic to test their abilities. It feels like if this was supposed to be the main focus of so much of the film, it could have been developed or made much more dramatic.
The same can be said for using the skills of the actors that writer and director Mike Cahill had at his disposal. Britt Marling doesn’t seem to be a main character until much later in the movie and again, her talents which she has clearly demonstrated in movies like Sound of My Voice go wasted here.
Once the film does reach it’s stride and the real central idea of the story is finally revealed, some of the cleverer elements of the early movie come into focus. The audiences patience and perception is rewarded with some well-crafted call backs but for many it will be too little too late. A very interesting idea is given too little time to be truly explored in favour for the snail-like love story that introduces it.
Overall, Mike Cahill wastes a very good idea by hiding it behind a slow, uneventful love story. Michael Pitt holds the film together well but is hardly tasked with anything too dramatic to deal with and alongside the talented Britt Marling, it feels like a waste of proven talent. When the actual key point of the film is finally revealed, it is explored and “resolved” far too quickly to have the intended impact.
Rating – 2
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