Movie Review: ‘I Origins’ Opens Your Eyes To A Whole New World (Aladdin Style)


Preston Barta // Film Critic

I ORIGINS | 113 min. | Rated R | Director: Mike Cahill | Stars: Michael Pitt, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Brit Marling, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi, Venida Evans, Cara Seymour, Rhonda Ayers and William Mapother

Rating: 3.5/4

Mike Cahill’s ANOTHER EARTH (2011) follow-up, I ORIGINS is one of the finest films of the year. It explores themes and ideas that cause us to reflect and think about life in a whole new way. No matter how much trust we have in science or fate, this film successfully brings our attention to the complexity of our physical structure, which we rarely recognize.

Science vs spirituality is the main theme here. Michael Pitt (BOARDWALK EMPIRE) plays molecular biologist Ian Gray, who is working diligently to prove that the evolution of the eye is the scientific proof discrediting creationism and spirituality. However, Ian’s view of life is challenged when he meets the free-spirited Sofi (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES).

Like Cahill’s ANOTHER EARTH, I ORIGINS probes profound questions about the human existence. It’s a beautifully shot (there are two stinging shots that come to mind; you’ll know it when you see them) and extremely well-acted film, especially Pitt and Bergès-Frisbey. I ORIGINS is quite the trip that will take you around the world, but it also will have you thinking for days and wondering how you would handle “the one that got away.”

P.S. The less you know about this film the better. DO NOT watch the spoiling trailer (my interview cuts all the spoilers).

We had the chance to sit down and talk to the film’s writer-director, Cahill, and his leading star, Pitt, about movies that have left them feeling changed and their perspective of the film business.

I ORIGINS opens on July 25.

Michael Pitt ('Ian') and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey ('Sofi') star in Mike Cahill's metaphysical thriller "I Origins." Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Michael Pitt (‘Ian’) and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (‘Sofi’) star in Mike Cahill’s metaphysical thriller “I Origins.” Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.