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'I Origins' gives the trope of 'Don't play God' a fresh twist

'Origins' stars Michael Pitt as a biologist who is determined to prove God doesn't exist.

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'I Origins' stars Michael Pitt (l.) and Brit Marling (r.).

Jelena Vukotic/Fox Searchlight/AP

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"Thou shalt not play God" is one of the oldest tropes in drama. “I Origins” gives it a fresh twist. Michael Pitt plays biologist Ian Gray, a PhD candidate in eye evolution whose passion is to photograph people’s eyes. He hooks up with Sofi (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), a mystery woman at a Halloween party wearing black leather and a face mask, and tracks her down after she disappears. Each has an obsession: She believes there is a God and he is out to prove, through his evolutionary research, that none exists. 

Writer-director Mike Cahill, who can be a bit too fancy with the camera, delivers a lot of deep-dish philosophizing with a minimum of cant. The film takes a highly emotional turn when Ian travels to India in the film’s climax.

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Brit Marling, who starred in and co-wrote Cahill’s debut feature, “Another Earth,” is very good as Ian’s lab assistant and eventual wife, and a young Indian girl named Kashish, a nonactress I would guess, is unforgettable. Grade: B+ (Rated R for some sexuality/nudity, and language.)