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updated: 7/24/2014 6:55 AM

Science, spirituality meet in Mike Cahill's 'I Origins'

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  • Video: "I Origins" trailer


Mini-review: 'I Origins'

So, what would really happen if something spiritual and mystical came along that defied scientific explanation?

In Mike Cahill's ambitiously stylish, low-budget drama "I Origins," the music swells, the action slams into instant slow motion and the actors take on expressions of utter amazement. That's what happens.

"I Origins" marks the second movie from Cahill, whose first sci-fi feature "Another Earth" marked the debut of a fresh, original voice in the now-CGI-stuffed genre.

In "I Origins," Cahill addresses a smorgasbord of big issues: afterlife, reincarnation, God, predestination, even true love. Or is all this a bunch of coincidental hooey?

Michael Pitt stars as scientist Ian Gray, who has this thing about photographing people's eyes, a fairly useful thing because he studies human ocular orbs in his quest to understand the meaning of life.

"Another Earth" star Brit Marling plays Ian's research assistant, who eventually becomes his wife, but he only has eyes for his true love, a model named Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), killed in a terrible accident.

This is a movie that strives for profound statements and eye-opening revelations, but it often crosses that delicate line into obviousness and the kind of narrative hokum that no respectable scientist would accept as truth.

"Maybe the eye really is some kind of window to the soul?" Marling's assistant wonders.

Really? Did she really just say that?

"I Origins" opens at the River East 21 and Century Centre in Chicago and the Evanston Century 18. Rated R for language, nudity, sexuality. 107 minutes. ★ ★

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