I-Origins Review - Stunning, a Eye-Catching Sci-Fi Winner

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"I-Origins,"from Fox Searchlight Pictures and Verisimilitude/WeWork Studios presents a modern science fiction mystery fantasy that shows the potential of contemporary medical advances and the disastrous misuse when cutting edge falls into the wrong hands.


Written and Directed by Mike Cahill, "I-Origins"stars Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Steven Yuen, with Archie Panjabi, Cara Seymour, Venida Evans, William Mapother and introducing Kashish as Salomina.

"I-Origins" begins in real time as we met Dr. Ian Gray, played by Michael Pitt, Karen, his very pregnant wife, and partner and friend, Kenny played by Steven Yuen.

In the brief intro, the audience sees a relatively young, ocular genius, who has dedicated his life to the study of the eye, its origins and as we also find out the synthetic development of a functioning eye.

Through voice over, Dr. Gray explains how his breakthrough in ophthalmology began seven years ago.

The transition to the past is very smooth and begins as Gray, then a Ph.D student, explains how his interest in the study the eye, ophthalmology, began. We see him as a child, and growing into an adult, always, by his own admission, mesmerized with eyes, almost if he weren't a dedicated scientist he would be known for his eye fetish.

Deciding to attend a Halloween Party and he meets a stranger with black mesh covering her face leaving only her eyes showing. The spark between the two, his eye fetish, and the unusual and coincidental presentation of hers, leads them to a one night stand, and him with only a picture of her eyes as a reminder.

Now, our lovelorn and super brain scientist is back at his lab where we meet the young Kenny, who also has a Halloween hangover. He introduces, a young first year rotating Graduate Assistant, a third super brain, Karen. The trio is cemented.

As Gray is data and fact focused, chance, happenstance, kismet, destiny or God, doesn't play into his thought processes, suddenly through a series of numeric encounters, which he believes are random and obvious to all if others were simply enlightened in thought, one could tap into a greater percentage of mental capabilities.

He, of course, only describes this, data breadcrumb trail which led him to her, when he has found his Halloween romantic encounter Sofi, played by the lovely Astrid Berges-Frisbey, and finding Sofi, he believes he has found the one person who completely understands the man he is holding onto but will never be and quite honestly must let go of to get to the pinnacle.

Sofi and Gray are romantic equals. It is a love, which transcends, the two are fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the "spirit world love" which is something to look forward in the film as the two decide to head to city hall. She is the free spirit, Pitts character understands he will never be. The closest he comes to escaping his destiny is his life with Sofi.

The irony of the instant decision to marry as it is a day that starts with such promise, builds in crescendos as it is the day when the developed eye finally, after 562 failures, catches, and it seems as if the team, flying so high, so close to the sun, the Icarus of the day mirrors the fable and suddenly and with horrifying parallels crashes.

The last half of "I-Origins" introduces a second act of genetic identification through eye scans, which dropped into the laps of our scientists, wouldn't have motivated them to explore the possibility of a scientific discovery or perhaps the "single most important ocular discovery in the history of mankind" if they were not told their child's health was inadvertently effected.  With the possibility their child is in danger the two agree to a series of tests.

"I-Origins" captures the viewer from the beginning. The back story, which carries the film in the absence of a marquee name, becomes part of the lead and is very interesting and presented very well with scientific authenticity.

I enjoyed "I-Origins." I felt the entire film was well done, the fluidity as it moves from the past to the present and back, the director was able to convey the time lapse and the importance of each discovery. The audience is never left wondering, or clueless trying to piece disjointed ideas together, the science isn't lost nor is it out of reach and comes to a dramatic pinnacle.

The ensemble cast work very well together. Berges-Frisbry has an ethereal feel to her character and that comes across very well. Brit Marling, Pitt and Yuen all give solid performances.

Without giving away the ending, Mike Cahill has added, post credits, a scene that is worth sitting through the entire film to view. It is stunning in its implication.  

"I-Origins," a sci-fi mystery with an authentic twist, is playing in select cities.

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