The Weinstein Company

Eva (2011)
Director: Kike Maíllo
Genre: Science Fiction
The Weinstein Company

Synopsis: Returning to his hometown of Santa Irene, Álex Garel (Daniel Brühl) attempts to complete the engineering of an emotionally perfect robot based off the brain patterns of a young girl.

Overview: Robots exist in the everyday world, with their objective being to make life easier for humans. But the robot yet to exist in our world is the free thinker, one that operates under its own free will. Eva explains and depicts consciousness beautifully. The components of the A.I. brain Álex constructs resemble Edison-inspired bulbs, from the radiance they emit to the connector filaments, equally as fragile. These bulb-like elements mimic the inception of an idea. But Álex’s ability to beautifully mimic human consciousness doesn’t mean that he truly understands humanity.

Álex, recognized as a genius at the local university, either falls short on the expectations of a “genius,” or the film’s director Kike Maíllo extends the usual characteristics of such cerebral distinction. Intelligent, but equally ignorant, Álex oversimplifies the beauty of the human brain. Álex’s research project consists of selecting traits, embedding them into the robot, and observing the robot with its new brain. Álex succeeds when he recreates Eva (Claudia Vega) in robotic form. Even then, the combinations of traits, and their degree of intensity, grow exponentially and ultimately surpass human consciousness, proving that the complexities of the brain continue elude man.

The relationship between Álex, his brother David (Alberto Ammann), and Lana (Marta Etura) instigates conflict when past feelings emerge between Álex and Lana. The conflict itself remains shallow, two brothers falling for the same woman. The main purpose behind the relationship lies in how the relationship leverages a misleading thought on whose Eva’s true parents are. The date of Eva’s birth is evidence enough to give weight to the possibility. Before the events of the film, Álex leaves Santa Irene for ten years, and upon his return finds he has a ten-year-old niece. In movies wherein hints lay scattered throughout the movie, they’re brought to the forefront with a dramatic pause, a stressor on a particular line, or a repetitive presence. In Eva, pay attention to what is not said.

Although the inspiration for Blade Runner, Eva also draws from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in developing a robot indiscernible from humans. How does Eva differ from recent robot movies, Ex Machina and CHAPPiEEva lies in between, reiterating a safe zone does not exist with a freethinking robot, even when given the innocence of a child. Eva is not as suspenseful as Ex Machina nor does it possess the visually complex exoskeletons seen in CHAPPiE. Events do not take place in rapid fire succession. Every scene carries a heaviness in its characterization, offering a glimpse at the possible thoughts ruminating in the characters’ cortexes.

The Spanish town of Santa Irene maintains its quiet seclusion, a more likely vision of the future than chromed cities with every imaginable gadget wired to one another. The film’s setting and tone, melancholy and contemplative, counters Eva’s vibrant and curious nature. Eva is another cautionary tale in playing God with an added facet: the emotional burden in destroying the soulless; and as asked three times in the film, the most important question, for both humans and robots, becomes, “What do you see when you close your eyes?