So there I was, browsing my local theater’s* schedule and planning my movie going weekend, when I come across a film called Eva. Eva? Who? What? Where did this movie come from? My theater is lovely (and within walking distance), but they’re not big on showing limited release films, and certainly not good at screening foreign language content**. So I’ll admit when I saw it listed, I did wonder if that was a mistake.
Eva has been doing the festival circuit since 2011, where it started its world tour out of competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. It has also seen some limited action in Russia, France, Turkey and Spain, and did well at the 26th Goya Awards. Picking up wins for Best New Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Special Effects.
It tells the story of a young cybernetic engineer called Alex (Daniel Brühl), as he returns to the snow-covered town Santa Irene for a special project – create a child robot. His return to the town however, (after a ten-year absence) stirs up trouble when he reunites with an old flame, Lana (Marta Etura), her husband David (Alberto Ammann), and their daughter, Eva.
What follows is part plodding love triangle, and part exploration of artificial intelligence, emotions and memories. Set in a really authentic looking 2041, as everyday folk happily coexist with intelligent robot servants. And by authentic, I mean a properly thought out production design, that spares us flying cars and a horrible bleak post-apocalyptic world. The depiction of technology in this film is nicely subtle, and takes today’s high-end tech, and simply makes it common place. While adding cool robot cats to hammer the futuristic setting home.
As a serious exploration of artificial intelligence, and its implications in the world. Eva isn’t all that effective. The performances from the cast are very decent, but the script unfortunately doesn’t hide the story’s mysteries all that well. And the critical emotional connection between Eva and Alex never properly develops beyond quirky fun banter. Which sadly mutes the film’s emotional finale.
* cinemacitytheatres.com (Anaheim Hills, CA)
** I was actually warned the movie had subtitles before buying my ticket!
Warning, this movie is in some strange foreign language, called Spanish! So you will have to READ! Expect neat visual effects and decent performances. The movie is rated PG-13 for some mature material and potentially disturbing images.
The opening credit sequence is stunning, and the snowy setting is beautiful. If your local theater is screening this film then make sure you catch that showing. At home, a HDTV screening is recommended.
The visual effects are really good in Eva. From Alex’s adorable robotic cat, to the holographic renderings of Alex’s emotional constructs – Eva is slickly made.