Michael Pitt plays Ian, a molecular biologist obsessed with eyes – and one pair in particular, belonging to the elusive stranger Sofi (Astrid Bergés-Frisbey), who he stumbles across at a party. Entranced and ultimately, in love – the pair soon enter in to an intense relationship. The other woman in Ian’s life is Karen (Marling), his lab partner – and the two become engulfed in a fundamentally monumental experiment, when they uncover some revolutionary evidence.
Cahill, once again, has presented a film that is unable to be labelled, as a fusion of a variety of genres, making for a unique piece of cinema. In the early stages we have what can only be described as an art house romance piece, which then develops into an intense human drama, before the latter stages, where this takes on the form of a thriller. Similarly to Another Earth, there is also that point where the tone shifts, somewhat dramatically – a technique that is mastered by the likes of Asghar Farhadi, to completely turn the picture on its head, representative of real life, and how when disaster strikes there can be no foretelling, nor natural way of responding. It just happens.
However that’s about as far as the realism extends in this piece, in what is otherwise a completely contrived film that requires one almighty suspension of disbelief. The narrative, though intriguing, is helped along for the most part by coincidence that is a challenge to adhere to, and overtly cinematic sequences that simply don’t reflect reality. Cahill can be excused in I Origins because it is, at its core, science fiction, and so doesn’t have a duty to reflect real life – but the countless moments when you just struggle to believe in the story, does nothing but take you out of the film, making for an emotionally disengaging experience.
Thankfully however, the exploration of science versus faith is a reoccurring, yet somewhat subtle theme, which is captivating at times, even if we do carelessly venture into the realm of pseudo-intellectualism. That being said, Cahill’s artistry is best employed in the visual experience he provides, as whether this picture may lose you at all with its convoluted nature, it’s certainly rather nice to look at.