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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Eva", Spanish robot drama under the snow

Eva

Even for a person like me, not really interested in the science-fiction genre, it's obvious Spanish cinema needs three or four directors like Kike Maillo, brave enough to propose a very different type of film than the ones usually produced here, and spectacularly ready to translate them to the big screen. "Eva" is his first work, and despite its flaws, it has to be praised as a much needed breath of fresh air in Spain.

"Eva" surprises you at first. The future it presents, the atmosphere, with this sort of snow-white, melancholic and isolated locations integrated with cybernetics and robotic, puzzles and intrigues the viewer. This is where Alex, a mysterious, hermetic character, returns, performed by Daniel Brühl, in order to take part in a very challenging project. Artificial intelligence artifacts (one performed by the Goya winner Lluís Homar) and quite cool special effects are used elegantly within the story, which soon reveals itself as a more traditional drama, despite the robots.

Indeed, my problems with "Eva" might have to do with the mixture of a not-so-original sentimental love triangle, plus a father-daughter relationship and the human vs. machine topic also presented. I applaud Maillo's decision to opt for a drama in which science-fiction is basically the context, asking metaphysical questions about existence, but then his story is conventional and rather flat.

For a drama, we miss too much information, especially regarding Alex's disappearance from his previous project and the motivations for his return. The sentimental side of the movie is also quite sloppy, not intense enough to compel the spectator, not documented enough to understand their actions. By the time the end of the film arrives, the final twist doesn't produce the shock is aiming for. Maybe because rage explodes too late to rescue us from that sense of coldness, distant viewing, or maybe because it was predictable (the opening scene already unveils part of the mystery), despite its curious sci-fi envelope.

Overall, a film that despite all its flaws and feeling of underachievement, needs to be praised as it opens a new path to explore for Spanish cinema.

SCORE: 5,75/10

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