Autómata – “Humans are nothing more than violent apes”
Directed by: Gabe Ibáñez
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Dylan McDermott, and Robert Forster
The human population on Earth has been decimated. The atmosphere is largely toxic with radioactivity. A robotics corporation, ROC, has developed what they call “Pilgrims”, which are robots who are designed for the soul purpose of helping humans survive. Two protocols have been permanently coded into each pilgrim. One is to not harm a human, and the other is to not alter themselves or another robot.
Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) is an insurance agent working for ROC, who is tasked with conducting an investigation when it is discovered that someone (or something) has figured out a way to inhibit the second protocol. The further he digs though, the more he realizes that it might be the creators not the creations that are deserving of being investigated. Is humanity being threatened? Or are we the threat?
Did you like “Blade Runner”? Did you like “District 9”? If you said yes to either then, like me, you will love “Autómata”. It is everything a sci-fi film fan could want. It is a great story, in a beautifully barren setting, delivered by spot on directing. I don’t have any idea why it has received mixed reviews so far. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Comparisons to the aforementioned films are inevitable, but this movie stands on it’s own as a unique accomplishment of gritty, almost too plausible dystopic science fiction.
Not only are the settings gorgeous, but the pilgrims are the best looking robots I have ever seen in a movie. The design and effects team really deserve a pat on the back for creating a chillingly bleak world that you are transported to from the beginning of the film to the credits. Coupled with a strong performance by Banderas, a wonderfully despicable bad cop played by Dylan McDermott, and a good supporting cast this film is flawless in every aspect.
There were a lot of opportunities for the director to go the easy route. He could have had the robots turn evil and violent, lowering themselves to the human condition that they see as a plague. Thankfully he did not, and this film is far better for it. See this movie. Hell, see it twice. If you are a fan of cinema, you will not regret it.