It's unkind to suggest, but "I Origins" could be Mike Cahill's "Unbreakable." Way back in 1999, as some moviegoers will recall, M. Night Shyamalan directed "The Sixth Sense," an effective drama with a twist that left a lot of people, including this reviewer, completely off guard. Shyamalan followed up that Oscar-nominated effort with "Unbreakable" -- a movie of such oceanic blather that his career has never quite recovered.
Cahill's previous effort was 2011's "Another Earth," the tale of a guilt-ridden young woman and a planet that entered our solar system carrying with it parallel humanity, narrative electricity and the irresistible mental chew-toy of paradox. It was, in a word, haunting. Unfortunately, Cahill's latest, "I Origins," starring Michael Pitt, French starlet Astrid Bergès-Frisbey and "Another Earth's" Brit Marling, makes a too obvious attempt to repeat his previous effort, wanting to be spooky and ending up soggy.
The otherworldly Pitt is doctoral candidate and biologist Ian Gray, whose obsession is people's eyes, which are compared in their uniqueness to fingerprints. At a Halloween party he meets a mysterious woman in black leather and a face mask -- he can only see her eyes but, fortunately, they are connected to the gorgeous Sofi (Berges-Frisbey). Unfortunately, she meets a horrible fate, but before doing so has impressed on the scientifically minded Ian the importance of spiritual faith.
It is next to impossible to reveal much else of what goes on in "I Origins" other than to say that Ian hooks up with his lab partner-turned-love interest, Karen (Marling), and then spirits himself away to India for a third act that is possibly dopey, and far less believable than the idea that Cahill will make another good movie, once he shakes off the New Agey nonsense.
PLOT A head-on collision of science and spirituality, involving a researcher into evolution and optics, and a set of reincarnated eyeballs in India.
RATING R (some sexuality/nudity, and language)
CAST Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey
BOTTOM LINE Ambitiously cockamamie.