I, origins is laboriously profound for a film with a pun for a title — this profundity mainly being communicated through lengthy close ups of various eyes. Eyes, you see, are an obsession of graduate Ian Gray. However, this ostensibly academic and scientific preoccupation with the human eye seems only to be a vehicle through which he can deliver a definite “F you” to creationists who claim that the human eye evidences an intelligent designer- A.K.A God.
Gray is a character so militantly, bitterly and condescendingly atheist that the audience can only presume that much of his dialogue was copied and pasted from a 4chan forum. An audience member who had read no synopsis of the film before they watched it and was only briefed that it was an independent sci-fi film might have expected something like a Shane Carruth film, best case scenario.
Primer, Carruth’s super low budget 2004 film is interesting to consider alongside I, Origins. Unfortunately origins does not compare favourably. While Primer intelligently weighs in on the philosophical implications of the pulpy, sci-fi trope of time travel, I, Origins goes off on its own bizarre and totally esoteric scientific-come –spiritual tangent. Perhaps this is the most grating aspect of the film—the attempt to marry science and spirituality.
You know this is where the film is headed when the protagonist sets off for India; the go-to destination of spiritual enlightenment for belligerent white guys in cinema/TV. Maybe it wouldn’t have come across as so insincere had Gray not been the least likable dork in the history of western culture.
The ending of the film had to rely on the lame semiotic of India as well as an overlaid cooing, indie track to convey any kind of sentiment. The most redeeming aspect of the film was undoubtedly the hyper-real decline in Gray’s attractiveness from the age of 26 to 34. Worth watching solely for his abrupt transformation from foppish Clark Kent to bloated, Leonardo DiCaprio look alike.