Movie Review: EVA (2011)


(Spoiler alert, you’re warned)

Eva is a drama about a futuristic society where humans and human-like robots co-exist. Álex, played by Daniel Brühl, is a roboticist specializing in developing robot’s personality. Hired by his Alma Mater to work on a secret freewill robot, Álex returned to the old college town, where he met up with his two close school mates, David and Lana, who are now married.  The trio once collaborated on an unfinished freewill robot before Álex abruptly left.  It was then revealed that there was a past romantic link between Álex and Lana, and tensions still exist among the love triangle.

designingemotionAlex was hired to develop the personality for the freewill robot.  In his search for a girl to model the personality after, Álex by chance encountered a sassy teen named Eva, who called Álex a “pervert” for following her around.  Later while attending a dinner at David and Lana’s home, Álex was surprised to see Eva again as Lana and David’s daughter.  Eva kept her previous encounter with Álex a secret and Álex played along.  Eva’s intriguing personality continued to draw Álex to study her and began to program evathe robot’s personality after hers.  But when he tested the robot under stressed condition he discovered the robot responded with murderous temper tantrum, so he had to put the robot to sleep, foreshadowing what is to come.  The movie climaxed when the audience was led to believe Eva is Álex daughter from his romantic interlude with Lana.  As Lana tried to explain to Alex, Eva eaves dropped and then ran off in anger. Lana chased after Eva eva-pelicula-9but that resulted in tragedy when Eva pushed Lana over a cliff in a fits of rage.  This Álex and the audience discovered Eva’s true identity: she was the unfinished “free” robot that Álex, Lana and David worked on, which Lana later finished. The ethics at that time require robots that hurt humans to be terminated, so even as Eva repented, Álex had to do the unthinkable of putting Eva to sleep.

If you liked Ex Machina, you will surely like this movie.  It has a multilayered story that raises philosophical questions about ethics of technology, euthanasia, and simply playing God.  It probed at the question of what does it mean to be human?  To have free will?  All the while the movie seamlessly interweaved into the story a love triangle subplot and a surprised ending.  The movie will surely keep you thinking about these questions long after you leave the theater.  The reality is that these questions are not so futuristic.  Today’s AI is making human-like behavior, including social emotion possible.  The scenario portrayed in the movie is not too far off.  I started a series of blogs discussing technology and implications of AI; readers wishing to explore this subject more may find interesting.