Automata Information

Automata is a 2014 science fiction action film starring Antonio Banderas. The film is directed by Spanish director Gabe Ibez and co-written by Ibez with Igor Legarreta and Javier Snchez Donate. Along with Banderas, the film stars Birgitte Hjort Srensen, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster and Tim McInnerny.


In 2044, solar flares have irradiated the Earth, killing over 99% of the population and causing technological regression. The survivors build primitive humanoid robots, called Pilgrims, to help rebuild in the harsh environments. These robots have two unalterable protocols: they can not harm any form of life, and they may not modify themselves or other robots. Initially seen as mankind's salvation, they are relegated to manual labor when they fail to stop the advance of desertification.

Jacq Vaucan - an insurance investigator for ROC, the company that manufactures Pilgrims - investigates a report from Wallace, a cop who shot a robot he claims was modifying itself. Jacq discovers the robot hid a rare nuclear battery that could power a robot indefinitely. The next day, Jacq follows a robot at a manufacturing plant during his investigation, that was stealing parts. When he corners it outside the city walls, it self-immolates. Jacq salvages the remains and speculates to his boss Robert that there may be a "clocksmith", someone who illegally modifies robots, who is overriding the second protocol. Incredulous, Robert rejects this possibility but offers Jacq a transfer out of the city if he can find evidence. Jacq's pregnant wife rejects his plans to leave the city, despite its danger to their unborn daughter, but she eventually relents.

Jacq and Wallace investigate a brothel, where they find Cleo, a modified robot that Wallace subsequently shoots. When Jacq objects, Wallace says that Cleo's owner will lead them to the clocksmith; Wallace also threatens to kill Jacq if he does not split the proceeds of the battery on the black market. Jacq follows Cleo's owner to a clocksmith named Dr. Dupr, who claims not to know who altered Cleo, an action that should cause the destruction of the Pilgrim's CPU. Jacq leaves the burned robot's CPU with her and offers to give her the battery if she can locate information on the clocksmith. When Dupr installs the modified CPU in Cleo, Cleo begins self-repairing. Dupr contacts Jacq, who alerts Robert; however, ROC intercepts Jacq's message and sends a team of assassins to Dupr's lab.

Dupr is killed, but Jacq escapes in a car driven by Cleo. When Cleo takes them into a maze of stanchions, both cars crash; the assassins are killed, and Jacq is severely injured. Cleo takes Jacq with her into an irradiated desert, where they are joined by three other robots, none of whom will obey Jacq's orders. However, the first protocol forces them to care for Jacq and prevent his death. Desperate to return to the city to be with his pregnant wife, Jacq makes contact with Robert, who sends Wallace to recover him. Wallace threatens Jacq's life and destroys two of the robots, who have objected to his actions; Jacq kills Wallace before he can also destroy Cleo. Wallace's partner flees after taking a battery from one of the robots.

Robert's boss reveals that the first Pilgrim, unburdened by the second principle, designed the subsequent models. As no human could understand the programming, it was thought to be impossible to subvert. ROC forces Robert to accompany a team sent to kill Jacq and the unknown clocksmith before the robots can evolve further beyond human understanding. When Robert objects to their kidnapping Jacq's wife and baby daughter, Conway, the leader, shoots him and leaves him for dead. Meanwhile, Jacq meets the robot responsible for modifying the others. Initially skeptical, Jacq eventually accepts that the robot naturally evolved, like humanity. After a series of philosophical discussions, Jacq gives them his battery, which they use to complete a new design. The robots repair a vehicle for Jacq, and he leaves for the city.

When Conway reaches the robot outpost, he destroys several robots. Jacq finds the dying Robert and returns to the outpost as Conway wounds Cleo. Jacq kills all ROC assassins but Conway, though he is further wounded in the battle. As Conway prepares to kill Jacq, the new robot saves his life by killing Conway. Jacq overcomes his distrust of the uninhibited robot when reunited with his family, and he leaves for the coast with them, as Cleo and the new robot venture further into the irradiated desert.


  • Antonio Banderas as Jacq Vaucan
  • Birgitte Hjort Srensen as Rachel Vaucan
  • Melanie Griffith as Dr. Susan Dupr
  • Dylan McDermott as Wallace
  • Robert Forster as Robert Bold
  • Tim McInnerny as Vernon Conway
  • Andy Nyman as Ellis
  • David Ryall as Dominic Hawk
  • Andrew Tiernan as Manager
  • Christa Campbell as Tech
  • Bashar Rahal as Doctor
  • Javier Bardem as Blue Robot



The film was shot at Nu Boyana Film Studios in Sofia, Bulgaria.


Automata received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 33% of 27 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 5.2/10. The site's summary states of the film: "beautiful to look at but narratively hollow, Autmata short-circuits its handful of intriguing ideas with an overload of sci-fi clichs." Metacritic rated it 37/100 based on 13 reviews. Jay Weissberg of Variety called it "a dystopic mess" that borrows from numerous science fiction films. Jonathan Holland of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "The overwrought, uncontrolled sci-fi thriller Automata is a disappointing example of a film that lacks the imagination to follow persuasively through on its engaging initial premise."

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