Ori­gins of Mar­ling

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

I ORI­GINS Di­rected by Mike Cahill. Star­ring Michael Pitt, Brit Mar­ling, Astrid Berges-Fris­bey, Steven Yeun, Archie Pan­jabi, Wil­liam Mapother, Cara Seymour. 15A cert, limited re­lease, 105 min Hot­shot grad stu­dent Ian Gray (Pitt) is re­search­ing the evo­lu­tion of hu­man eyes when he meets Sofi (Berges-Fris­bey), a mys­te­ri­ous girl with cen­tralised het­e­rochro­mia and a hat­ful of kooky be­liefs con­cern­ing the spirit world and rein­car­na­tion. Work­ing with Karen (Mar­ling), his bril­liant young as­sis­tant, Ian ul­ti­mately hopes to prove that eyes have evolved, thereby rul­ing out any su­per­nat­u­ral no­tions about cre­ation­ism or in­tel­li­gent de­sign. A strange se­quence of event gives the sci­en­tist pause for thought. Might there be more to heaven and Earth than dreamt of in his phi­los­o­phy?

Right-minded hu­mans don’t use pa­tro­n­is­ing phrases such as “think­ing man’s crum­pet” any more. And yet when the New York Times pro­filed mar­vel­lous movie multi-tasker Brit Mar­ling last Jan­uary, the head­line read: “How to suc­ceed in hol­ly­wood de­spite be­ing re­ally beau­ti­ful.”

In Sound of My Voice and Another Earth – films she co-au­thored, pro­duced and starred in – Mar­ling has cre­ated her own genre, a cere­bral lo-fi sub­set of sci­ence fic­tion that dares to ask big ques­tions about life, the uni­verse, and ev­ery­thing in an age de­fined by shrug­ging and sar­casm. I Ori­gin was writ­ten by Another Earth di­rec­tor Mark Cahill. The film clearly be­longs with th­ese early Mar­ling pic­tures, but it lacks the nu­ance of its pre­de­ces­sors and, far too soon, gives in to the ir­ra­tional side of the ar­gu­ment.

The mid­sec­tion me­an­ders and there are too many slow-mo­tion se­quences. But th­ese mi­nor quib­bles are off­set by in­ter­est­ing ideas about ir­re­duc­ible com­plex­ity and iris recog­ni­tion. A not-quite Mar­ling pic­ture is still a mil­lion times smarter than any­thing else out there. HUMANCAPITAL Di­rected by Paolo Virzì. Star­ring Fabrizio Ben­tivoglio, Va­le­ria Golino, Va­le­ria Bruni-Tedeschi. Club, IFI, Dublin, 109 min

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