I Origins, directed by Mike Cahill and starring Michael Pitt along with Brit Marling, is the latest film by the group of friends responsible for the mystical and quirky Another Earth, Sound of My Voice and The East. I Origins fits neatly into the mix, but is not as good as the other three, primarily because it is too predictable and because it gets a little too heavy-handed in its new-agey mysticism.
More specifically, I Origins is about the theme of reincarnation. It concerns two scientists working to prove that eyesight can evolve in a creature which is unable to see, thus somehow punching a hole in some people’s proof for the existence of God. I’m not sure why that should be so important an issue, but it does lead to a startling discovery having to do with reincarnation, which I’m guessing this group of friends (Mike Cahill, Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij) believes in.
It’s an interesting premise and the film is thoughtful and well-made, with strong acting by all involved, but, as I mentioned, it suffers from far too much predictability. One of the less predictable themes, which comes into play early on, is the role of so-called coincidences in bringing people together. That is something I also happen to believe in, but unfortunately the film does not explore this theme as well as it could have.