There is something fantastically cinematically cerebral about filmmaker Mike Cahill, and we could not be more thrilled the Another Earth creator is back with I Origins. Cahill is one of the smartest filmmakers working today and his films are important and that is saying something in an era of sequels, remakes and reboots.
I Origins follows Ian (Michael Pitt), a scientist who has spent his life’s work trying to connect the dots of evolution through the human eye. He believes that if he can make a connection between the first humans and today's people, that he can prove that there is no way creation ever happened. He is accompanied on this mission by Karen (Brit Marling), a brilliant “first year student” who is meant to be his intern, but in many ways becomes his partner on this scientific journey.
But I Origins is not just about science and God. There is a love story here, and it works on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. Plus, this is one of those movies that has to be seen, so the less we actually tell you about the plot, the better.
The film follows Ian’s life over the course of many years through love, heartbreak, disaster, hope and triumph. And along the way, the audience is treated to a journey that is always compelling, challenging and intriguing in the best of ways. In fact, there are several genres of movies at work here, all wrapped in one fantastic bow.
Pitt is a revelation. He astounds around every turn and channels the full spectrum of human emotion in one two-hour tour de force. We feel in many ways that Pitt’s character is an extension of Cahill himself, and when filmmakers do that, it could go one of two ways. And in this case, it is a stroke of genius that pays off in droves in one of the most thought-provoking, emotionally riveting movies you will see all year.
And don’t get us started on Marling. She continues to mesmerize and could easily be called one of the most intelligent actresses working today. The way she says so much with, yes, her eyes is startlingly sensational. She supports Pitt in many ways, but she is also the driving force behind pushing the science to the scientist (Pitt) who sometimes gets lost while drowning in human emotion.
As teased in the I Origins trailer, the film may be all about eyes, but it is still all about the heart. We feel what the characters feel, and it is the rare cinema experience that truly touches on a majority of our senses.
You never knew there was so much to learn about the human eye. Our I Origins review feels that that age-old statement about the eye being the window to the soul is never more true than it is in I Origins.